Last Minute Polls Show Brazil’s Lula Lead Eroding. He May Be Forced Into Runoff

Less than 12 hours before the start of Brazil’s election to choose a new president, two polls raised for the first time the possibility that Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will not win reelection in a first-round landslide.

Both of the surveys from DataFolha and Ibope were presented in the Jornal Nacional, the prime time news show from Brazil’s audience leader, TV Globo.

The two polls were conducted after the final presidential debate among the candidates minus one, since President Lula withdrew from the debate just three hours before the start of the TV encounter. Feeling scorned, Globo lashed back at the president, criticizing him for the slight. 

In the DataFolha poll, Lula appears leading the race with 46% of the votes. His closest opponent,  Geraldo Alckmin, from the PSDB. gets 35%, followed by senators Heloí­sa Helena (PSOL, 8%) and Cristovam Buarque (PDT, 2%).

Four other candidates – Ana Maria Rangel (PRP), José Maria Eymael (PSDC), Luciano Bivar (PSL) and Rui Costa Pepper (PCO) – get together 1%.

There are still 4% that say they will cast a blank or spoiled ballot and 5% still undecided. The survey has a 2% margin of error in either direction. 

In the Ibope survey, Lula leads with 45% followed by Alckmin with 34%. When only the valid ballots are considered, Lula gets 49% of the valid votes while all his opponents together make 51%.

This would be more than enough to force the president into a runoff, which some experts consider an entirely new game, like a fresh new start.

If a runoff really occurs – something that polls for months now had shown as an impossibility – voters will be back at the ballot box by October 29, or exactly four weeks after the first round. 

According to the Ibope scenario, Heloí­sa Helena should get today 8% of the votes and Cristovam Buarque, 2%. Both, Helena and Buarque, belonged to the same Workers Party of Lula. While Buarque left the PT to protest corruption in the party, Helena was expelled from it for rebelling against the direction the PT was taking. 
  
For the Ibope, when only valid votes are considered Lula gets  50% of the votes while Alckmin wins 38%, Heloí­sa Helena reaches 9% and Cristovam captures 2%. All the other candidates get 2%.

When a runoff is simulated, Lula gets 49% of the votes and Alckmin 44%. If this should pass, the former governor of São Paulo and his party believe they will have a good chance to capture the presidency most especially if the ruling party keeps accumulating scandals and sweeping corruption cases under the carpet.

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