2022 Race

Lula leads runoff polls, but abstention rates indicate smaller gap

Lula leads new poll, but abstention makes gap to Bolsonaro smaller
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at a polling station on Sunday’s Election Day. Photo: Rovena Rosa/ABr

A Quaest poll released on Thursday shows former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva with 48 percent of voting intentions for the October 30 second-round election, with incumbent Jair Bolsonaro on 41 percent. The result indicates a decrease in the gap between the two candidates. Before the first round vote, the same survey showed a difference of 11 percentage points, now cut to 7.

Regarding valid votes, Lula’s lead sits at 54-46, per Quaest.

But 24 percent of the interviewed sample admitted they did not vote in the first round. This segment of the electorate is more inclined to support Lula. Sunday’s abstention rate was the highest in 28 years (for a general election), as The Brazilian Report explained this week.

Among the population with a monthly income of up to BRL 3,000 (USD 576), almost one-third (28 percent) admitted they did not show up to vote or spoiled their ballot. Lula leads with 43 percent support in this bracket. As for the wealthiest segment of the population, only 16 percent did not choose a candidate, and Mr. Bolsonaro was favored by 44 percent.

If abstention rates hold, it is possible that polls will once again fail to adequately capture the president’s support. Since the first round, pro-Bolsonaro politicians have led an assault on polling institutes, suggesting that pollsters that fail to accurately predict results must face punishment.

The poll brought one piece of great news for President Jair Bolsonaro. His government’s rejection rates have dropped from 42 to 38 percent since last week. In the Northeast region, a notorious Workers’ Party stronghold, the government’s approval ratings rose sharply — from 19 to 27 percent.

The polls suggest the president’s moves to tame inflation and provide economic relief to low-income populations may be finally helping to improve his image among the electorate.