The difference in the polls between the current president Jair Bolsonaro and the former president Lula da Silva is reduced by the deterioration of the PT leader
LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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On October 30, the largest democracy in all of Latin America will elect its "new" president. The only 2 candidates are already old acquaintances of South American politics. The current president, a right-wing leader and nicknamed the “Bolsonaro del Trópico”: Jair Bolsonar; faces the former Brazilian president, leader of Latin American socialism, and leader in the polls: Lula da Silva.
The balance today is in favor of the candidate of the Workers' Party (PT). He was the most-voted candidate in the first round with 48.4%, surpassing his opponent with 43.2%. A clear advantage, but insufficient to take the victory in the first round. Only 1.5% away from being elected on October 2 last.
You can also read: This is how the second round will be defined in the presidential elections in Brazil
But, the surprise was given by Bolsonaro, since just before the voting, the president-candidate was 14 percentage points behind his candidate, according to the polls. A gap that was shortened by almost 10% in a few days. This fact may suggest two elements that have not been properly evaluated: a positive tendency of Bolsonaro compared to that of Lula; and a secret ballot typical of controversial candidates.
Positive Trend For Bolsonaro
Jair Bolsonaro is coming at full speed and is already hot on the heels of his political adversary. According to the latest polls, Lula would win with 50% and Bolsonaro would keep 43%. Obviously good news for PT supporters, but this image shows a downward trend for Lula.
The same survey, a week before, gave 42% to the current president and 51% to Lula. Despite the fact that the difference between the two may be in the margin of error, he still proposes that Lula is losing his advantage and in the face of close elections, these are votes that will hurt to lose.
However, Bolsonaro has also been reducing rejection among voters. Today, there are 46% of Brazilians would never vote for the conservative, compared to 48% last week. Compared to 41% and 42% for Lula, between the survey published in the week of October 17 and 10.
Both photographs give a clear result: Bolsonaro is in a positive trend, and that from the first round. The president had barely more than 25% in December 2021 and in the first round he took out more than 43%.
Many specialists believe that, in addition to the possible flaws in the pollsters' samples, Bolsonaro is a candidate with a largely hidden vote. This means that many people do not express their intention to vote for the current president, but on election day they do.
This phenomenon usually happens with controversial candidates, traditionally from the extreme right. It happened with Donald Trump in the United States and with Brexit in the United Kingdom. The polls underestimate the support for this type of candidacy or have not been able to measure it under traditional parameters and this always ends up giving them a result higher than that measured by the pollsters.
If this is so, JB's hidden vote can be up to 10%. This percentage in a second round so tight that the difference is less than 7%, can give a completely different result.
Lula Needs To Win With a Sufficient Margin
According to electoral rules in Brazil, for Lula or Bolsonaro to win the presidency, they must obtain a simple majority in this second round. It will not be necessary to obtain more than 50% of the votes as in the first round.
However, it seems that Lula will need to win by a good margin. First, not to trust the growing rise of Bolsonaro supporters. But also, because the current president has been waving the flag of possible electoral fraud. If Lula manages to beat his opponent by a tiny advantage, he will take office, but not before the accusations of fraud by Bolsonaro and his followers, skepticism among many Brazilians, difficult governance, and a latent risk of a coup.