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According to polls, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has emerged unscathed from the political crisis of corruption his government suffered in 2005. With his popularity on the rise, it is likely he will be reelected for another four years in October. Nevertheless, there are indications that important changes have taken place that will limit his possibilities.

The polls released in January leave no room for doubt: Lula has recovered a good portion of the popularity he lost in 2005 and is in good condition for a victory in the upcoming election in October, or at the latest, November when the count is finalized. According to all projections, Lula will defeat Geraldo Alckmin, governor of the state of Sao Paulo, who is running on the opposing Social Democratic Party (PSDB for its Portuguese initials) ticket.

The nature of Lula’s social support has been changing over the past three years and three months of his tenure in office. The traditional foundations of support on which the Workers Party (PT) rested came from industrial laborers and a certain sector of the urban middle class with university education. Today, however, the profile has changed, to the point where the sole explanation for Lula’s rise lies in the assistance program

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