The Ipespe institute today published its first presidential poll since former Justice Minister Sergio Moro exited the race. As we predicted last week, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has been the early winner from the conservative former judge’s absence, jumping from 26 to 30 percent of voting intentions, while center-left former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has remained on 44 percent.
Last week, Mr. Moro switched parties, leaving Podemos for União Brasil, a newly-formed right-wing party that has no intention of launching his presidential candidacy. On multiple occasions since the move was made official, the party’s top brass said their plan for Mr. Moro is to use him as a vote magnet in congressional races.
Mr. Moro (who polled at 9 percent on March 25) still has hopes of running for president and said on Friday he hadn’t given up on his “dream to change Brazil.” But unless the scenario changes dramatically, his influence on the presidential race, if any, will be from the sidelines. Per Ipespe, 15 percent of voters would be more likely to vote for someone if they were endorsed by Sergio Moro.
Besides the former judge’s exit from the race, Mr. Bolsonaro also profited from an uptick in his approval ratings, from 26 to 29 percent, late in March.