Datafolha, Brazil’s most renowned pollster, on Friday afternoon published its first poll on the runoff for Brazil’s presidential race, between former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the incumbent, Jair Bolsonaro.
According to Datafolha, Lula would win an unprecedented third presidential term with 53 percent of the vote if the election were today. At the limits of the margin of error, Lula and Mr. Bolsonaro would be separated by just over 2 percentage points.
Pollsters are under pressure after having underestimated the support for Mr. Bolsonaro in the first round. On the eve of Election Day, Datafolha had the president polling at 34 percent – though he obtained 43 percent of valid votes the following day.
Mr. Bolsonaro and his allies of him have attacked pollsters on multiple fronts since the first round was completed. On Tuesday, Justice Minister Anderson Torres called for a federal investigation into “conduct akin to criminal activity by certain pollsters.”
The president’s campaign also reportedly requested that electoral authorities investigate polling institutes, while pro-Bolsonaro senators called for a congressional hearings committee on the matter.
There is an unproven belief in political circles that many voters (especially those who are less tuned in to political debates) don’t want to “waste” their ballots by voting for losing candidates and thus pick frontrunners instead. According to this theory, then, showing Bolsonaro far behind Lula in the polls would have been damaging to the president.
Seeking support from centrist sectors, Lula on Thursday stated that if he wins, “the economy will not be run solely by the Workers’ Party.” Markets are skeptical of fiscal risks under the leftist leader (although Jair Bolsonaro obliterated fiscal responsibility rules in order to boost his re-election chances).
On the same day, the group of economists who were behind the creation of the Brazilian real, the currency which tamed hyperinflation and greatly transformed the country’s economy, endorsed Lula for the presidential runoff in a statement. The group had been opponents of the Workers’ Party for years.