BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro gained ground on favorite Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva ahead of October’s election, but he still trails the left-wing leader by 17 percentage points, according to a new poll on Thursday.
Pollster Datafolha said former President Lula would get 43% of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 26% in a first-round vote if elections were held today.
Datafolha said the government’s Auxilio Brasil welfare program launched in December helped Bolsonaro gain 4 points since the last poll, while Lula lost 5 points.
If the two men, who have not yet formally declared their candidacy, faced each other in a second round, Lula would win with 55% of the vote against 34% for Bolsonaro, a difference of 21 points which has increased from 29 points three months ago.
Lula’s advantage is in line with other recent polls which showed Bolsonaro advancing.
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Still, Datafolha said accelerating inflation and high fuel costs driven by war in Ukraine could still impact voters’ intentions seven months from the election.
Bolsonaro improved his numbers by toning down his anti-vaccine and skeptical comments about the severity of COVID-19, Datafolha said, and he may have benefited from the relief Brazilians are feeling with the easing of pandemic restrictions.
Statistically tied in third place are former justice minister Sergio Moro, a judge who jailed Lula on corruption charges that were later dropped, and former Ceara governor Ciro Gomes, both in down one point to 8% and 6% respectively.
Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria dropped from 4% to 2%.
Datafolha surveyed 2,556 voters in 181 cities across Brazil between March 22 and March 23. The poll has a margin of error of 2 percentage points up or down.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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