2022 Race

Bolsonaro yet to feel effects of cash benefits in polls

polls First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro and President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Isac Nóbrega/PR
First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro and President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Isac Nóbrega/PR

New polls by Quaest published on Wednesday show that the payment of new or increased cash stipends has not yet improved the odds of President Jair Bolsonaro against former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Lula still leads the October presidential race with 45 percent of voting intentions, while all other candidates combine for 43 percent (with Mr. Bolsonaro being the preferred candidate for 33 percent of respondents). In a poll published two weeks ago, the numbers were 44 percent and 32 percent, respectively — changes within the poll’s confidence interval.

Lula’s numbers have remained stable since November 2021, oscillating between 44 and 48 percent. Mr. Bolsonaro has climbed from 21 to 33 percent — but the gains remain insufficient to secure a runoff (although that possibility is higher now than it was a few months ago). 

The largest uptick in support for Mr. Bolsonaro came in April, after his former Justice Minister, Sergio Moro, was forced to withdraw from the presidential race by his party, União Brasil.

Quaest CEO Felipe Nunes highlighted that, among recipients of the Auxílio Brasil cash benefit — recently enlarged from BRL 400 to BRL 600 (77 USD to 116 USD) with the approval of a constitutional amendment known as the ‘Desperation Bill’ —, Lula’s advantage over his main rival actually increased. 

President Bolsonaro’s new economic measures are understood by 62 percent of poll respondents to be electorally motivated rather than driven by a desire to help struggling Brazilians.

The payments of the enlarged Auxílio Brasil began on August 9. Lula has pledged to maintain the benefit at BRL 600 if he returns to the presidency, in a bid to neutralize one of Mr. Bolsonaro’s latest electoral tactics. Under current legislation, the increased stipend is only due to last until December.