After Sunday’s first round of voting, the battle lines are now set. The Workers’ Party’s Fernando Haddad will face far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro in the October 28 runoff to decide who will be Brazil’s next president.
At this early stage, three weeks before the vote, there is a clear favorite. Jair Bolsonaro’s 46 percent of votes in the first round was just four percentage points off an absolute majority. Theoretically, he would need an extra four million votes to push him over the line. Fernando Haddad, on the other hand, has a much larger amount of ground to cover, needing to increase from 29 percent to 50 percent.
Precedent is not on his side, either. Never in a Brazilian runoff vote has the leader in the first round went on to lose, and certainly not by losing such a significant lead as Jair Bolsonaro’s.
The first reputable opinion polls of the second-round only served to underline just how big a task Mr. Haddad has at hand. On Wednesday, polling institute Datafolha published that Mr. Bolsonaro leads with 58 percent of valid votes, meaning the Workers’ Party candidate will have to muster an eight-point swing before October 28.