Prior to the October Election, Lula Maintains a Big Lead Over Bolsonaro in Brazil

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Prior to the Oct. 2 election, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s lead over the far-right incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro shrank one percentage point, from 19 to 18 points, according to a poll released on Thursday by pollster Datafolha.

In the poll, the leftist leader received 47% of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 29%, compared to 47% and 28% in June.

According to the pollster, if the election were held today, Lula would win with 53 percent of the valid votes, avoiding a second-round runoff that would be necessary if no candidate received more than 50 percent of the unspoiled ballots.

According to the poll, if there is a run-off election, which would take place on October 30, Lula would win with 55 percent of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 35 percent, a 20-point advantage down from the 29-point lead he held in December.

During his two terms in office from 2003 to 2010, when Brazil experienced rapid economic growth as a result of a commodities super-boom, Lula was able to lift millions of people out of poverty and leave office with a record level of public support.

A Lula victory would mark an incredible comeback for the 76-year-old former union leader and founder of the Workers Party, who served 580 days in prison in 2018 and 2019 on corruption convictions that were later overturned.

The populist firebrand Bolsonaro has courted voters by increasing welfare spending while promoting lower fuel prices, which had been fueling high inflation. His congressional allies passed a constitutional amendment allowing his administration to spend more than allowed during an election year.

However, Datafolha claimed that because the increased monthly stipend payments do not begin until August, the electorate has not yet experienced the effects of the welfare benefits.

Nevertheless, Bolsonaro increased by 3 percentage points among low-wage earners receiving less than 2,424 reais ($467) per month, though Lula still dominates this group with a 54 percent to 23 percent advantage, according to Datafolha.

According to Datafolha, the poll revealed that Bolsonaro’s repeated criticism of Brazil’s electoral process, which has stoked concerns that he might refuse to concede defeat and attempt to foment a coup, has not increased his negative rejection numbers.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Datafolha conducted interviews with 2,556 Brazilians who were 16 years old or older. The margin of error for the poll is 2 percentage points, up or down.

($1 = 5.1838 reais)

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