Lula lead in Brazil has grown even more significant

Ipec, the renowned Brazilian pollster, published its latest reading of the presidential race on Monday night. According to the institute, the probability of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva clinching the race already in the October 2 first round has increased. In Brazil, if no candidate gets a majority of votes, then the two best-voting contenders qualify for a runoff election (scheduled for October 30).

A week ago, Lula was polling 2 points ahead of all other candidates combined (46-44), a lead that increased by a percentage point. Two weeks ago, Lula was behind the sum of his adversaries.

The most recent numbers suggest that Lula’s strategy to incite voters to engage in “tactical voting,” that is, to rally around him already in the first round to unseat President Jair Bolsonaro (who stayed parked at 31 percent from last week).

To win over voters, Lula has attracted the endorsement of politicians from the far-left to the pro-market right. Earlier Monday, he hosted eight former presidential candidates supporting his bid for a third term.

Per Márcia Cavallari, whether or not Lula can pull off a first-round win will depend on turnout. If turnout among poorer classes — more inclined to vote for Lula — show up in large numbers, his chances of winning it all on October 2 increase.

While voting is mandatory in Brazil, it is relatively easy for voters not to show up at polling stations — they must justify their absence and, if they fail to do so on Election Day, pay a symbolic fine. However, in recent years, electoral authorities have made it easier for voters to justify their absence — they can do so through a smartphone app.

President Jair Bolsonaro hoped that his September 7 rallies in Brasília, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro would fire up his base and attract new voters. But the most respected pollsters show he may have hit his ceiling at the low-30s.

During the weekend, Mr. Bolsonaro renewed his attacks on the credibility of Brazil’s voting system. He said the only possible outcome of the election would be him winning it all in the first round. Any other outcome would mean “something abnormal” happened with the vote counting.

His entourage echoed his words. Communications Minister Fabio Faria tweeted: “Superior Electoral Court, take note of the numbers Ipec is publishing; on October 2, the population will call for the closure of this institute. No more absurd in electoral polls!!! The moment of truth is coming.”


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