Right-winger Bolsonaro gains ground in Brazil presidential poll

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Right-wing frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro’s support has grown ahead of Brazil’s presidential election in October, while second-place environmentalist Marina Silva edged up in a new Datafolha poll released on Wednesday.

Excluding jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Bolsonaro continued to lead with 22 percent of voter intentions, up from 19 percent in the previous Datafolha poll in June.

Silva’s support edged up to 16 percent from 15 percent in June, failing to narrow the gap with Bolsonaro.

Business favorite Geraldo Alckmin remained stuck in single digits with 9 percent, up from 7 percent in June.

Lula was registered as a presidential candidate by his Workers Party last week but will likely be barred from running by the electoral court due to his corruption conviction that led to a 12-year jail sentence.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain who favors easing gun control to fight crime, has stirred controversy with comments denigrating women, gays, blacks and indigenous people.

Despite this, Bolsonaro has led the field from the outset when Lula is excluded, by tapping into voter anger over political corruption.

Support for Lula’s running mate, Fernando Haddad, the former Sao Paulo mayor who is expected to head the ticket in Lula’s stead, has risen to 4 percent since June, when he polled just 1 percent.

Haddad’s chances of making the second-round runoff between the two candidates who get the most votes will hinge on his ability to tap into the massive support enjoyed by Lula. The former president was convicted of taking bribes and a half dozen other corruption accusations are still under investigation.

When Lula is included in the poll, his support surged to 39 percent from 30 percent in the previous Datafolha survey.

If Lula’s name is not on the ballot, the number of voters who say they will intentionally invalidate their ballot, not vote for anyone or are undecided falls to 28 percent from 33 percent in June. That makes the Oct. 7 election the most open and uncertain in decades.

Center-left candidate Ciro Gomes, a former governor of Ceará state in Brazil’s poorer Northeast, has held steady at 10 percent. Gomes has failed to draw the support of Lula voters he would need to become the new standard bearer of Brazil’s left.

Datafolha surveyed 8,433 voters across Brazil Aug. 20-21. The poll has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.


Reporting by Jake Spring and Anthony Boadle; Editing by Richard Balmforth and Jeffrey Benkoe.

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