Live 2022 Race

Presidential polling curves begin to flatten

TBR Newsroom
May 20, 2022 10:43

The Ipespe institute published its latest round of presidential polls, confirming the stability of recent months. The polling scores of the three best-performing candidates are identical to those from the last survey, held two weeks ago.

According to Antônio Lavareda, a political scientist and Ipespe founder, the electorate remains split between former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. 

When voters are asked who they will vote for without being presented with a list of candidates, 38 percent mention Lula and 28 percent pick Mr. Bolsonaro. All other candidates combine for just 8 percent. Spontaneous polls are considered reliable measurements of candidates’ consolidated support — the latest results show that anyone trying to break the Lula-Bolsonaro dichotomy will face the narrowest of paths.

Ipespe’s runoff simulations are also stable, with Lula keeping a 20-point lead.

However, another institute, Ideia Big Data, shows a much tighter race, with Lula leading by just 7 points (46-39). Per Ideia, Mr. Bolsonaro has gained almost 10 points over the past few months — while Lula dropped 5 points.

The polls are not automatically comparable, due to their differences in methodology. 

Telegram inks deal with electoral authorities to curb fake news

Amanda Audi
May 18, 2022 12:42

After narrowly escaping a ban in Brazil, Dubai-based messaging app Telegram agreed to terms with the Superior Electoral Court on a strategy to curb the spread of misinformation during the 2022 election campaign. 

One of the fastest-growing apps in Brazil, Telegram is a go-to weapon for broadcasting political content — often laden with falsehoods as misinformation networks profit from the app’s almost-inexistent content moderation policies.

Telegram has committed to creating a tool to flag misinformative content, developing a chatbot to answer questions about the elections, and creating an official channel for the Superior Electoral Court. There will also be a direct communication channel between authorities and the company in order to quickly strike down flagged content.

As we showed in last week’s edition of the Brazil Weekly newsletter, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has mastered the art of Telegram posting better than any other politician in Brazil. He manages roughly 10 times as many shares and views for his posts as Lula, his main challenger for the October election.

Hard-right politician loses political rights over Ukraine jab

TBR Newsroom
May 18, 2022 10:50 (Updated: May 19, 2022 13:23)

State lawmakers of São Paulo on Tuesday voted to impeach Arthur do Val, one of their former peers, for his sexist remarks about Ukrainian women. Early in March, a leaked audio message showed Mr. do Val gushing about Ukrainian women in a derogatory manner, saying that refugees “are easy because they are poor.”

As his opponents moved with an impeachment process against him in the State Congress, for breach of decorum, Mr. do Val in April resigned his office in a move to preserve his political rights (impeached politicians in Brazil are banned from elections for eight years).

Mr. do Val, a former conservative YouTuber who entered electoral politics in 2018, became the first São Paulo state lawmaker to lose his political rights in 23 years. His office called the process a “political witch hunt solely aimed at keeping him from running for Congress in October.”

Indeed, the São Paulo State Congress has proven to have a troublesome double standard. Last year, another lawmaker groped a female colleague during a sitting — and wasn’t impeached despite his harassment being caught on video. The lawmaker in question got a six-month suspension without pay but kept his office and political rights.

Brazilian polling station officers want extra security

Constance Malleret
May 18, 2022 10:17

A survey released by Instituto Ideia revealed that 70 percent of the Brazilians who have been summoned to work as polling station officers in the October elections want the electoral authorities to provide more security this year.

President Jair Bolsonaro’s repeated attacks on the country’s voting system have heightened tensions ahead of the elections and stoked concerns that the vote may be marred by violence.

The Instituto Ideia interviewed a sample of 651 polling station officers; 30 percent of these said they feared being the target of attacks, verbal or physical, on the days of the election, while 22 percent who had previously worked as polling station officers reported having suffered problems while on the job.

The survey also reveals a lack of trust in the very electoral system that the polling station officers serve: 20 percent believe there will be fraud and 31 percent believe the election results will be challenged. Just over half (52 percent) say they trust the electronic voting machines, with 31 percent trusting them a little, and 13 percent saying they do not trust them at all.

Some 147 million Brazilians will vote to elect a new president and legislature in October. The electoral authorities estimate that nearly 2 million people, a large part of them volunteers, are needed to help man the polling stations across the country.

Bolsonaro rises in Rio, his political birthplace, to tie with Lula

Amanda Audi
May 17, 2022 15:57

A recent poll shows that President Jair Bolsonaro has gained ground in Rio de Janeiro, his political birthplace and the state with the third-largest number of voters in the country. Per pollster Quaest, he is tied with Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva with 35 percent of the votes apiece.

The results of this survey are not directly comparable to previous ones due to a change in methodology. But in March, Lula was 8 points ahead. As the election draws closer, Mr. Bolsonaro has been able to narrow the gap that separates him from the frontrunner in the South and Southeast regions — where he performed the best in 2018. 

Candidates of the so-called “third way” failed to reach the double digits.

Rio de Janeiro’s incumbent governor, Cláudio Castro, leads the gubernatorial race with 25 percent of voting intentions. He recently said he will support Mr. Bolsonaro — but won’t criticize Lula.

Brazilians’ lives were better with Lula, says Bolsonaro

Amanda Audi
May 17, 2022 15:52 (Updated: May 17, 2022 15:53)

In a conversation with supporters on Monday, President Jair Bolsonaro acknowledged that Brazilians “lived better” when Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was president (2003-2010). “They say ‘in his time, people lived a little better than they do today.’ Of course they did, I agree,” he said. “But you could have lived much, much better if he [Lula] hadn’t stolen so much,” the president added.

According to Mr. Bolsonaro, the Brazilian economy was derailed by external issues that are beyond his control, such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. The President also acknowledged that the effects of high inflation on food and fuel will impact the election.

In what was the biggest jump for April since 1996, Brazil’s inflation hit 1.06 percent over the last month, according to Brazil’s official statistics agency IBGE. The 12-month rise in consumer prices is now at 12.13 percent, the highest in 19 years.

Vargas Llosa endorses Bolsonaro against Lula

Lucas Berti
May 12, 2022 12:28

During an event in Uruguay, Peruvian writer and 2010 Literature Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa said he would prefer seeing President Jair Bolsonaro winning re-election in Brazil than witnessing a return of center-left Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to the presidency of Latin America’s biggest economy.

“[Jair] Bolsonaro’s case is a very difficult one. His clownish behavior is very difficult for a liberal to condone. However, between Bolsonaro and Lula, I prefer Bolsonaro. Even with Bolsonaro’s shenanigans, he is not Lula,” he said, at the meeting hosted by a think tank in Montevideo. 

Mr. Vargas Llosa mentioned Mr. Bolsonaro’s mishandling of the pandemic as an “absolutely irresponsible affair.”

Mario Vargas Llosa’s image as an unapologetic defender of freedom has been dented by his recent political positions. Last year, he vouched for far-right politician Keiko Fujimori in the recent Peruvian presidential election — despite her defense of her father’s legacy, who ruled Peru as a dictator in the 1900s and has been convicted for crimes against humanity.

Now, the writer endorses a man who has given all the indications that he won’t accept October’s election result, unless it goes his way.

Bolsonaro rushes to scrap vestiges of Bolsa Família

Guilherme Mendes
May 11, 2022 12:21

One of Jair Bolsonaro’s main strategies to claw his way back into contention in the presidential race was the move to rename the Bolsa Família cash-transfer program (now called Auxílio Brasil) and increase its monthly payments. 

Now, in order to bury the Bolsa Família program — which is heavily associated with former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Mr. Bolsonaro’s main challenger, the government wants to change the cards used for withdrawals.

The Citizenship Ministry is reportedly trying to get BRL 130 million (USD 25 million) to print 72 million new cards. The move is questioned by public spending experts who point out the fact that the government has been forced to freeze parts of the budget in order to make ends meet.

Supporters of the measure say that the new card will bring new technology that will allow for its use as a debit card.