Brazil's presidential candidates court evangelicals
FROM BLOOMBERG. Brazilian presidential candidate Jose Serra (pictured above) is targeting religious voters in a bid to close a 14- percentage point gap with Dilma Rousseff ahead of a runoff election later this month.
While Brazil is famous for skimpy bikinis and naked carnival dancers, church attendance and faith-based voting are on the rise in Latin America’s biggest economy. Both candidates are courting this growing constituency by visiting churches and canvassing for votes with Christian leaders.
Serra has benefitted more from the trend after Rousseff’s past statements on abortion led some Christians to view her with suspicion, said Rafael Cortez, a political scientist at Tendencias Consultoria Integrada. The issue has shifted the debate away from the economy, where Rousseff has an advantage after she served as cabinet chief for President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who lifted 21 million people out of poverty, he said.