They waved flags and chanted in the street for President Lula da Silva’s 65th birthday – and in a few days time the same supporters are increasingly likely to be celebrating again.
The Brazilian leader’s chosen successor Dilma Rousseff is surging ahead of her rival, Jose Serra, according to a new opinion poll ahead of Sunday’s presidential run-off.
The Sensus survey suggests that her lead now stretches to 15-points. Earlier this week Brazil’s most respected polling institute had Rouseff holding steady with an 11-point gap.
President Lula’s former chief of staff is basking in Brazil’s economic success and the popularity of welfare programmes for poorer people.
For her opponent, Jose Serra, the election razzmatazz cannot hide the fact that the outlook looks bleak. Even his campaigners concede that they are failing to win voters over.
The former governor of Sao Paolo, who has tried to push the theme of corruption to the fore, has one last chance to bridge the gap – the last live TV debate on Friday. But previous debates have not been widely watched and have made little difference.