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Lula reaches final debate on the verge of a first-round win

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The latest reading of the 2022 presidential race shows former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva scoring 50 percent of the valid votes, discounting undecided voters and those willing to spoil their ballots.

As is, it is a coin flip as to whether Lula can top the minimum 50-percent threshold to clinch the race on Sunday, without the need for a runoff stage later this month. “It is strictly in the middle of probabilities,” said Mauro Paulino, the former Datafolha boss who now works as a pundit for Globo.

The latest Datafolha poll increases the stakes of tonight’s presidential debate, which will be broadcast by media giant Globo. The station’s ratings are so massive that each of its individual interviews with the main candidates attracted more viewers than both previous presidential debates combined.

Just three days away from Election Day, a head-to-head between the two frontrunners, Lula and President Jair Bolsonaro, is a prospect that will be hard to miss.

The two men’s performance may decide whether or not the election goes to a runoff. The embattled president’s campaign has reportedly decided he must ramp up his attacks on Lula, focusing on issues such as corruption. Meanwhile, Lula is being coached to keep his cool from him while not taking hits without fighting back.

The debate will start at around 10:30 pm Brazilian time, and we will break it down in tomorrow’s Brazil Daily newsletter.Lula is polling at 48 percent in total votes — one point higher than a week ago. His opponents combine for 46 percent. Datafolha will still publish one last poll, on Saturday — the eve of Election Day. It will interview 12,800 people, almost double the sample of today’s reading.

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