Bolsonaro and Haddad likely to polarize first round of elections
Far-right Jair Bolsonaro and leftist Fernando Haddad seem to be consolidating their positions as front-runner and runner-up in the latest Datafolha voting intention polls for the first round of Brazil’s presidential elections on October 7. Bolsonaro has 28% of the preferences to Haddad’s 16%.
Polarization between them is also evidenced by the fact that theirs are the highest figures in the rejection index (43% for Bolsonaro and 29% but growing for Haddad) and in the crystallization of intention (75% of those who say they will vote for Bolsonaro and 72% who say they will vote for Haddad also say there is no chance they will change their minds).
Center-left Ciro Gomes is at 13% in the preferences poll, which means he is statistically tied with Haddad (the survey has a 2% error margin). But there is an increasing likelihood that Haddad’s numbers will increase more because his party is larger than Gomes’ and many voters do not yet identify him as heir to former President Lula.
No centrist candidate has been able to rise out of the single digits in voting intention, including market favorite Geraldo Alckmin, despite his having 44% of the free propaganda time on radio and TV. There are many indications that business people are shifting their support from Alckmin to Bolsonaro in order to avoid the victory of someone from the leftist camp.
Gomes and Haddad, however, are signaling that they are capable of moving towards the center. Their discourse has become less radical in the last few days of campaigning.
In the Bolsonaro camp, besides the fact that the candidate is still in a hospital recovering from his near-fatal stabbing attempt 20 days ago, there has been some turmoil in terms of scheduling.
His key economic advisor, Paulo Guedes, a graduate of the University of Chicago and a champion of neoliberalism, has been de-authorized by the candidate in reference to plans to reintroduce certain taxes and for other macroeconomic policies he has been proposing.
Although the polls point to a possible two-horse race between Bolsonaro and Haddad, the election is still unpredictable.
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