Brazil’s Lula holds double-digit advantage over Bolsonaro: Poll

Former left-wing president has 46 percent support compared with 32 percent for incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, new survey finds.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is seeking to unseat incumbent, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in October's vote [File: Carla Carniel/Reuters]

Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is vying to unseat incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in the country’s October elections, has reclaimed a double-digit advantage over the far-right leader, according to a new poll.

The survey published on Monday by Instituto FSB found that 46 percent of voters said they support Lula, up from 41 percent in April, while support for Bolsonaro was unchanged from a month ago at 32 percent.

FSB director Marcelo Tokarski said Bolsonaro had gained ground in April after former Justice Minister Sergio Moro dropped out, but Lula saw a bump after Joao Doria, the former governor of Sao Paulo state, who ran as a centre-right candidate, threw in the towel last week.

“The surge in inflation, but mainly the expectation among most voters that prices will continue to rise in the next three months, has been a hurdle for Bolsonaro’s re-election plans,” Tokarski said.

Jair Bolsonaro
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has faced slumping popularity amid the coronavirus crisis [File: Guga Matos/Reuters]

Bolsonaro, a pro-gun nationalist, has faced growing public discontent about his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and push to encourage mining in the Amazon, while high inflation and soaring fuel prices have also hurt his popularity.

Bolsonaro, who took office in 2019, has also drawn concern over his attacks on the country’s electronic voting system. He has insisted without any evidence that the system is vulnerable to fraud, a claim rejected by judicial experts who said he was seeking to sow doubt in advance of the 2022 vote in order to dispute the results.

Earlier in May, a group of 80 jurists and legal researchers appealed to the United Nations Special Rapporteur to visit Brazil and report on the government’s attacks on the Supreme Court and the Superior Electoral Court that oversees elections.

Meanwhile, Lula has been looking to widen his political coalition ahead of the October polls, naming centrist Geraldo Alckmin as his running mate.

The 76-year-old with the left-wing Workers’ Party was previously dogged by a corruption scandal and prison stint, but a judge overturned his conviction last year in a move that opened the door for him to seek re-election.

According to Monday’s poll, in an expected second-round runoff between the two rivals, Lula would gain 54 percent of the votes and Bolsonaro 35 percent, a 19-percentage-point advantage that Lula had in March.

The poll, which was sponsored by investment bank BT, showed that the Brazilian election is more polarised than ever, with centrist alternatives to Lula and Bolsonaro garnering just 13 percent of voter support, down from 17 percent in April and 24 percent in March.

The rejection rates for both Lula and Bolsonaro remain virtually unchanged, with 43 percent of voters saying they would never vote for Lula and 59 percent saying they would never vote for the far-right incumbent.

Last week, a survey by pollster Datafolha showed Lula drew 48 percent support compared with Bolsonaro’s 27 percent.

“These numbers are great news for Lula’s campaign. Bolsonaro will have to pull a rabbit out of the hat now,” political analyst Andre Cesar, of the Hold Assessoria risk consultancy, told the Reuters news agency.

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters