Lula still leads all presidential polls

Two presidential polls were released on Monday, and both showed that the race remains unaltered even after the official start of the campaign and two nationally-televised debates. In prison since April 7 following a conviction for passive corruption and money laundering, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva remains ahead with 37 percent of votes, followed by far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, with 18 percent.

While Lula will likely be excluded from the race due to his multiple criminal convictions, his name remains on the opinion polls because, formally, he is still a candidate. For him to be excluded from the presidential race, his candidacy must be rejected by the Superior Electoral Court, triggering a set of appeals which could drag the process on until mid-September, less than a month before the country goes to the polls.

Electoral Justices have decided to approach his case in the most conservative way possible, to avoid having a big chunk of the electorate questioning the election’s legitimacy. If the courts move at a fast pace against the politician, it will only serve to fuel the Workers’ Party’s discourse that a conspiracy is underway to keep Lula off the ballot. 

</span></p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-7733" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-1024x777.png" alt="presidential polls 2018 election brazil 5" width="1024" height="777" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-1024x777.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-300x228.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-768x582.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-610x463.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil.png 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-7737" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-5-1024x763.png" alt="presidential polls 2018 election brazil 5" width="1024" height="763" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-5-1024x763.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-5-300x224.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-5-768x572.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-5-610x454.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-5.png 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-7736" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-4-1024x763.png" alt="presidential polls 2018 election brazil 5" width="1024" height="763" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-4-1024x763.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-4-300x224.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-4-768x572.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-4-610x454.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-4.png 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-7735" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-3-1024x763.png" alt="presidential polls 2018 election brazil 5" width="1024" height="763" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-3-1024x763.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-3-300x224.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-3-768x572.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-3-610x454.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-3.png 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-7734" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-2-1024x763.png" alt="presidential polls 2018 election brazil 5" width="1024" height="763" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-2-1024x763.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-2-300x224.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-2-768x572.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-2-610x454.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/presidential-polls-2018-election-brazil-2.png 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <h2>What do the numbers tell us?</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Former president Lula has increased his polling figures since May, and the polls show his strategy of confronting the legal system is working. It also shows that, albeit timidly, Lula has already started to transfer part of his votes to understudy </span><a href="https://brazilian.report/power/2018/08/15/fernando-haddad-lula-president-election/?mc_cid=6e542e16c1&amp;mc_eid=3fe7a799a2"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fernando Haddad</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, who appears with 4 percent in scenarios without Lula.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When Lula is excluded, center-left candidate Ciro Gomes and centrist Marina Silva double their numbers &#8211; from 5 to 9 percent, and from 6 to 12 percent, respectively. However, this leap is expected to be short-lived. Lula has a loyal voter base which has shown an immense willingness to vote for whomever he endorses. Still, 60 percent of the entire national electorate say they would not vote for Mr. Haddad if he&#8217;s backed by the incarcerated former leader.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Similar to Lula, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro&#8217;s polling situation remains stable. His figures vary from 18 percent against Lula to 20 percent when Mr. Haddad is the Workers&#8217; Party candidate. This shows that his voter base is very loyal and consolidated &#8211; but could suggest he has a low ceiling. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Out of all candidates with chances of reaching the runoff stage, none was hurt more by Monday&#8217;s presidential polls than center-right hopeful Geraldo Alckmin &#8211; whose numbers have stalled at 5 to 7 percent of votes. This unchanged scenario suggests that many right-wing voters don&#8217;t believe in the Social Democracy Party candidate&#8217;s potential and instead prefer Mr. Bolsonaro.</span></p> <h2>Which questions remain unanswered?</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Election Day is seven weeks away &#8211; and we are pretty much stuck in the same uncertain scenario we have been over the last couple of months. The answer to three questions will decide the outcome of the presidential race: </span></p> <h4><span style="font-weight: 400;">1. How high is Mr. Bolsonaro&#8217;s ceiling?</span></h4> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Polling at 18-20 percent, Mr. Bolsonaro has proven to have a solid base, which puts him in a great position for a spot in the second round. However, the former Army captain is not a dead cert. In the previous two elections, for instance, Marina Silva reached the 20-percent mark in presidential polls and still failed to reach the runoff stage. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If Mr. Bolsonaro fails to grow, then Mr. Gomes, Ms. Silva, Mr. Alckmin, and Mr. Haddad all remain in the game. But if the far-right candidate manages to increase his voting intentions, then the fight is on to decide who will be his adversary in a head-to-head contest.</span></p> <h4><span style="font-weight: 400;">2. How influential will television and radio ads be?</span></h4> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is the key question for Mr. Alckmin. His broad coalition &#8211; &#8220;the biggest in the Western hemisphere,&#8221; according to one of his allies &#8211; warrants him 44 percent of ad time for political parties, which will be aired from August 31 onward. Will that be enough to push him to double-digit voting intention levels in the next presidential polls?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Experts have said that the 2018 election will be </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">the </span></i><a href="https://brazilian.report/2018/07/14/social-media-brazil-2018-election/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">social media election</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. If that&#8217;s truly the case, then the center-right is in deep trouble. </span></p> <h4><span style="font-weight: 400;">3. Will Lula have enough time to transfer his votes to Mr. Haddad?</span></h4> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Barring the legal equivalent of a miracle, Lula will not be on the 2018 ballot. Then we must ask: if his legal dispute drags on until mid-September, will less-informed voters associate him with his understudy? It&#8217;s worth remembering that most Brazilians are not exactly worried about the election right now &#8211; rampant levels of unemployment and violence are drawing the public&#8217;s attention far more than the political game.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ironically, like the center-right, the Workers&#8217; Party also depends on television and radio remaining key to shaping voters&#8217; minds. The party will broadcast as many images of Mr. Haddad and Lula together as possible.

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PowerAug 21, 2018

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BY Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist with experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets.