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Lula-Bolsonaro gap is narrow among likely voters, a new poll finds

Quaest published its latest presidential poll on Thursday. For the first time, it weighed respondents’ likelihood of actually showing up to vote.

In the first round, all major Brazilian pollsters underestimated support for incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro ahead of the October 2 vote. Abstention is higher in poorer areas, where former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva performs better.

While the Superior Electoral Court does not have data about voters’ income, it does hold information on their level of education, which is a reasonable proxy. According to official data published this week, less than 12 percent of voters with a college degree abstained, compared to over 20 percent of those who started but did not finish high school. Over half of illiterate Brazilians did not vote.

Though electoral data on voters’ education levels might be outdated, the figures highlight a heavy correlation.

In today’s poll, Lula scored 49 percent of total voting intentions to Mr. Bolsonaro’s 41 percent. Excluding voters who remain undecided or plan to spoil their ballots, Lula would have around 54 percent of valid votes, against 45 percent for Mr. Bolsonaro. However, the gap is slimmer among likely voters: a 53-47 Lula lead.

Per Quaest, 92 percent of voters will not change their vote.

Interestingly, more Lula voters say they will back the former two-term president in order in order to elect him rather than simply unseat Mr. Bolsonaro. Among those who pick the incumbent, there’s a statistical tie on whether their priority is to re-elect Mr. Bolsonaro or to stop Lula from returning to power.

Regardless of their choice, most voters (55 percent) believe Lula will win, compared to just 31 percent who think President Bolsonaro will be re-elected. A large majority of respondents (77 percent) also said that endorsements from prominent figures do not influence their voting decision.

In a piece of bad news for the president, the share of people who voted for Senator Simone Tebet and former National Integration Minister Ciro Gomes in the first round decreased their support for him. The number of Mr. Gomes’s voters who say they will vote for Lula increased from 39 to 54 percent.

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