At 3 weeks from the 1st round, elections continue wide open
Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro is likely to enjoy a boost up in his public image after having survived a near fatal stabbing last week. His physicians say he is in stable condition and on the path to full recovery in a few weeks.
Although he will probably not be able to engage in his enthusiastic rallies until the first round of elections October 7, he will continue to appear in extensive and positive mass media coverage during his convalescence.
The attempt against his life is contributing to the process of “normalizing” him into the established political environment.
He had been seen by most as an outcast for his outrageous attacks on minorities that led him to be charged with inciting hatred against women, homosexuals and Afro-Brazilians.
Now, his opponents are all expressing solidarity and well-wishes, and have withheld, at least temporarily, all propaganda that harshly accuses him of bigotry, racism and sexism.
In addition, the attack against him may highlight a top issue in his platform: combating crime through tough police repression and by easing gun ownership and use by ordinary citizens.
Bolsonaro is poised to become the front-runner in voting intention polls this week when former President Lula must be formally replaced by Fernando Haddad as the Workers’ Party candidate, although Lula’s camp is still appealing to reverse the decision to rule him off the ballot in October.
In the latest polls, Lula had 39% of preferences compared to Bolsonaro’s 22%. But the former Army Captain led the rejection index, with 44% saying they would never vote for him. The polls also showed Bolsonaro would be beaten by any of his rivals in the runoff.
The polls were taken before the stabbing, and could change in his favor after it. However, it is highly unlikely that the change would be dramatic, although his supporters are saying that now he could win the election in the first round.
The stabbing and the fire that destroyed the 200 hundred-year-old National Museum in Rio last week have added to the low collective morale that has characterized the country for the last couple of years.
At three weeks away from the first round, pessimism and skepticism prevail, and this could affect markets in unforeseen ways.
The views and opinions expressed in The Pulse are PATRI’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Brazil-U.S. Business Council. For additional information please email Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva, at firstname.lastname@example.org.More Testimonials