Jair Bolsonaro is corroding the Workers’ Party electoral base

. Oct 03, 2018
The former Army captain has cracked into demographics that had been, for the past decade and a half, locked up by the Workers' Party. Bolsonaro is stealing Workers' Party voters

On Monday, Ibope published a shocking poll showing the significant growth in support of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro. Moreover, Mr. Bolsonaro’s polling numbers among women – a demographic that has consistently been resistant to his appeal – had jumped by 6 points. Only two days before the poll, hundreds of thousands of women had taken to the streets and made their repulse to the extremist candidate heard.

Some political analysts, such as Alberto Carlos Almeida, called out some red flags about the Ibope poll. He said that the questions had been drawn differently from previous polls – and therefore couldn’t be analyzed together. This Monday poll would have been an outlier. But then came Tuesday, and a new Datafolha poll confirmed Ibope’s numbers.

</span></p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-9350" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-o9Izb-1024x683.png" alt="Jair Bolsonaro is corroding the Workers' Party electoral base" width="1024" height="683" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-o9Izb-1024x683.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-o9Izb-300x200.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-o9Izb-768x512.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-o9Izb-610x407.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-o9Izb.png 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-9351" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-kvJ3b-1-1024x683.png" alt="Jair Bolsonaro is corroding the Workers' Party electoral base" width="1024" height="683" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-kvJ3b-1-1024x683.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-kvJ3b-1-300x200.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-kvJ3b-1-768x512.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-kvJ3b-1-610x407.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-kvJ3b-1.png 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The recent polls changed the mood in both camps. Before the weekend, the Workers&#8217; Party top brass was full of optimism. Talks about future finance ministers &#8211; to calm down market operators &#8211; showed how confident the party was. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now, it is the Bolsonaro camp who is ecstatic. The candidate declared on Tuesday that he needs &#8220;a final push to close the deal without the need of a second round.&#8221;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So, what happened for so much to have changed in such a short time span?</span></p> <h2>Mr. Bolsonaro rises among traditional Workers&#8217; Party bases</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The gap between the two leading candidates has widened to 10 percentage points due to one main factor: Mr. Bolsonaro has risen among voters who have either </span><a href="https://brazilian.report/opinion/2018/10/01/gender-gap-women-bolsonaro/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">rejected him over the past weeks</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and months (women), or among a voter base that had been dominated by the Workers&#8217; Party in previous elections (voters from the Northeast or of lower-income). </span></p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-9354" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-yI2Rv-1024x683.png" alt="Jair Bolsonaro is corroding the Workers' Party electoral base" width="1024" height="683" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-yI2Rv-1024x683.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-yI2Rv-300x200.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-yI2Rv-768x512.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-yI2Rv-610x407.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-yI2Rv.png 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-9353" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-9gadh-1024x683.png" alt="Jair Bolsonaro is corroding the Workers' Party electoral base" width="1024" height="683" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-9gadh-1024x683.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-9gadh-300x200.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-9gadh-768x512.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-9gadh-610x407.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/export-9gadh.png 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-9352" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Webp.net-gifmaker-9-1024x683.gif" alt="Jair Bolsonaro is corroding the Workers' Party electoral base" width="1024" height="683" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Webp.net-gifmaker-9-1024x683.gif 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Webp.net-gifmaker-9-300x200.gif 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Webp.net-gifmaker-9-768x512.gif 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Webp.net-gifmaker-9-610x407.gif 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The far-right campaign adopted an efficient strategy. Officially, the campaign wouldn&#8217;t directly go against the Women&#8217;s March. Instead, it launched a full-scale attack on the Workers&#8217; Party itself. While the feminist movement promoted the hashtag #EleNão (Not Him), Mr. Bolsonaro&#8217;s supporters promoted the hashtag #PTnão (Not the Workers&#8217; Party). A series of videos were published on social media attacking the party&#8217;s main leader, jailed former president Lula.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of them reuses a video from the 1989 campaign, in which a former girlfriend of Lula said that the politician &#8220;hated blacks&#8221; and had offered her money so he would abort an unwanted child. In others, the videos remembered </span><a href="https://oglobo.globo.com/politica/relembre-as-50-frases-mais-polemicas-de-lula-durante-os-oito-anos-de-mandato-2903171"><span style="font-weight: 400;">controversial statements</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by the former president. Such as when he said, in October 2010, that &#8220;the police only hit the people police have to hit.&#8221; Or when Lula said, also in 2010, that &#8220;a woman should be submissive to her husband [because he needs him for supporting herself]. She should only be submissive because he loves him.&#8221;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The rationale is clever. The far-right is trying to tell conservative but not radical voters that the left-wing vilify Mr. Bolsonaro for his misogynistic, racist remarks, but relativizes it when it comes from Lula. That alone has helped to crack the Workers&#8217; Party stronghold across many demographics.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But another aspect is noteworthy.</span></p> <h2>Don&#8217;t blame it on the Women&#8217;s March</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many </span><a href="https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/poder/2018/10/explosao-da-rejeicao-de-haddad-sugere-que-elenao-ajudou-bolsonaro.shtml"><span style="font-weight: 400;">pundits</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> from big newspapers have said that the Women&#8217;s March has actually propelled Mr. Bolsonaro to a wider lead. That is, as journalist Carol Pires pointed out on Twitter, extremely cynical from the press. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While the Women&#8217;s&#8217; March was happening, the far-right was flooding social media with false information about the event. To minimize the significance of the event, they said the left had published fake photographs of Carnival parades as if they were from the demonstration. Another post with false information noted that the picture was so old that it featured a building that had collapsed almost a decade ago.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, as </span><a href="https://brazilian.report/society/2018/10/01/brazilian-tv-ignores-womens-march/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">television networks</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> all but ignored what was happening, voters were left with little to counter what their social media bubbles were sending them. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Women&#8217;s March was indeed an event of the left-wing talking to itself, as University of São Paulo researchers Márcio Moretto and Pablo Ortellado have pointed out. But the fact that its repercussions were limited also has to do with how the Brazilian press dealt with it.

Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist, Gustavo has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. He has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets and founded The Brazilian Report in 2017. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

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