The Brazilian presidential campaign is now officially underway, with candidates holding rallies, attending debates, and preparing their television and radio spots. Now, more than ever, polls will play a big part in the candidates’ strategies – and they will also influence the press, the markets, and political pundits. Some institutes have set themselves apart from the rest over the years and, thanks to methodological evolutions, the main pollsters tend to publish similar numbers as Election Day draws closer. However, important differences in how questions are formulated (or how the voters are approached) remain.
Last week, three major polling institutes released their latest surveys, all with fairly similar results. CNT/MDA, Ibope, and Datafolha all showed Lula with almost 40 percent of voting intentions for president and far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro in second, close to the 20-percent mark. In scenarios with Lula, the two frontrunners are way ahead of the rest of the pack – with Marina Silva coming in third, never polling better than 8 percent.
But let’s focus on the scenarios which present Fernando Haddad as the Workers’ Party’s candidate, as Lula is unlikely to stay on the ballot. The former Mayor of São Paulo coordinated the party’s political program for the election and is Lula’s nominee for vice president. If (or when) Lula’s name is barred by the Electoral Justice system, Mr. Haddad would step in as the true candidate.