Ibope, a polling institute that has become synonymous with public opinion in Brazil, has published its first survey on the 2018 presidential election. It confirms that former President Lula and Congressman Jair Bolsonaro, two of the country’s most divisive candidates, lead the polls in nearly every scenario.
Lula appeals to voters who associate his presidency (2003-2010) with an era of prosperity and economic success. Indeed, Lula was the head of state during the commodities boom, which propelled the Brazilian economy to new heights after years of stagnation. His cash-transfer programs also pushed millions of people out of poverty. But Lula’s presidency was also plagued by numerous corruption cases – which drove many of his supporters away.
The former president himself was convicted of corruption and money laundering in July. If the conviction is upheld by a court of appeals, Lula would be excluded from the race.
Bolsonaro is polarizing for different reasons.