Pollster Quaest on Thursday released a poll among São Paulo voters, showing President Jair Bolsonaro and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in a statistical tie — but with the incumbent nominally ahead with 37 percent of the voting intentions, over Lula’s 36 percent.
This is the first time Mr. Bolsonaro has appeared ahead of his main challenger in Brazil’s most populous state. In an August 11 reading, the two candidates were also in a statistical tie, but Lula had a 37-35 lead.
Over 22 percent of Brazilian voters are in São Paulo, making it a key piece in the electoral chessboard. Mr. Bolsonaro’s campaign hopes to offset Lula’s massive lead in the Northeast region — a stronghold of the Workers’ Party for the past decade and a half — by improving his numbers in the Southeast, Brazil’s wealthiest and most populous region.
The poll suggests this rise by Mr. Bolsonaro reflects his recent strategy to repeat ad nauseam that he is a candidate who defends conservative values — such as opposition for wider abortion rights. Among Evangelical Christians, the president leads Lula by 51 to 25.