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The political debate boiled in Lena's Salon in Rio's Cantagalo slum, as patrons argued about who should win Sunday's presidential election.
The tightest and most unpredictable presidential election since Brazil's return to democracy three decades ago is now in the hands of lower middle class voters like those debating in Lena's Salon, who represent 35 percent of the electorate and remain torn about which candidate they'll back just days before the ballot.
The optimism has surprised many, considering that since the June poll Brazil entered a technical recession and inflation jumped above the government's own ceiling target of 6.5 percent, despite attempts to lower it by imposing price controls on gasoline and electricity.
Observers said the only explanation was Rousseff's aggressive campaign to convince voters that times are still good and that she's looking out for their economic interests, whereas Neves, long hit with charges of elitism, would care only about the rich.
Eliane Cantanhede, one of Brazil's best-known political commentators who writes for the newspaper Folha de S.