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Socialist Lula da Silva holds lead in Brazilian polls, but conservative Bolsonaro is gaining ground

A new poll by pollster MDA has shown that Bolsonaro has gained ground and approval of his government has risen to about 30% -- up more than four percentage points

May 10, 2022 3:26pm

Updated: May 10, 2022 3:31pm

When Brazilians head to the polls on October 2, they will see familiar faces on the ballot as current President Jair Bolsonaro, a conservative, faces off against former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – a socialist who is once again running for office after being cleared of corruption charges in March.

But just days after officially launching his presidential campaign, where he urged Brazilians to unite against the “incompetence and authoritarianism” in Brasilia, Lula da Silva appears to hold a comfortable lead over his conservative opponent, with some polls showing the socialist leader holding a 14-percentage-point lead over Bolsonaro.

A new poll by pollster MDA has shown, however, that Bolsonaro has gained ground and approval of his government has risen to about 30% -- up more than four percentage points, Reuters reported.

But these numbers are not new or especially surprising.

Support for Bolsonaro has grown in recent surveys as his administration continues to boost social spending and hold mass rallies in towns and cities across the country.

According to recent simulations, first round voters would give Lula 40.6% of the vote while Bolsonaro would receive 32%. A February CNT/MDA survey, however, showed Lula up by 42.2% compared to Bolsonaro’s 28%.

If a second-round run-off were held today, Lula would win by 50.8% of votes compared to 36.8% -- a difference of nearly 18 percentage points from February when Lula led Bolsonaro 53.2% to 35.3%.

"The poll indicates an improvement for Bolsonaro, with increases both in the positive evaluation of his government and of his personal performance as president," MDA said.

Lula da Silva launched his presidential bid on Saturday, vowing to fix the issues caused by what he called the "irresponsible and criminal" administration of incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. For many, the comeback seemed implausible after the 76-year-old leftist leader faced a prison sentence on corruption charges, The Guardian reported.

"We're ready to work not only to win the election on October 2, but to rebuild and transform Brazil, which will be even more difficult," the socialist leader told a rally in Sao Paulo.

"We need to change Brazil once again... We need to return to a place where no one ever dares to defy democracy again. We need to send fascism back to the sewer of history, where it should have been all along," he added.

Bolsonaro, for his part, launched his re-election campaign last month and has stated that he will focus on corruption under Lula. He also dismissed the polls as inaccurate.

"I don't believe in polls, but the guy who practically destroyed Brazil is ahead," he said in a radio interview. "Either the surveys are fraudulent or people are not well informed."