Geraldo Alckmin, the opposition candidate running against President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil’s runoff presidential election on October 29, is trying to put a positive spin on the results of the first opinion poll since a TV debate he had with Lula last Sunday. October 8.
The just-released DataFolha survey shows that the difference between the president and the former governor of São Paulo has widened from 7 to 11 percentage points.
Alckmin noted that he respects the serious work of DataFolha, but commented that the polls are wrong sometimes. He called it "nonsense" the polls institutes mistakes in the first round when not one of them saw the possibility of him getting into the second round.
"The whole campaign they were saying: we won’t have a runoff. You may choose who made less mistakes," he stated with a touch of irony.
Alckmin didn’t want to comment however if his loss in the surveys has anything to do with his aggressive behavior towards the president during the debate when he called Lula a liar and kept bringing to the discussion several corruption cases that plagued Lula’s presidency.
"The second round begins with the TV and radio campaign (to start this Thursday), it is another election, everything evens out, we will grow again and get there, I am feeling this in the streets", said the candidate.
And he added: "The harder part was to reach the second round. I am going to look in the eyes of the people, win the Brazilian people’s confidence and get there."
The ex-governor also said that he will keep the "Mike Tyson style" of the first debate, in a reference to the more assertive and aggressive tone he adopted since winning a place in the runoff. And to needle Lula he added that he doesn’t like "people who don’t say the truth and who throw friends on the fire to save their own skin."
Asked if his aggressive strategy isn’t turning off possible voters he answered he will keep pointing Lula’s lies: "I am going to talk to Brazil… And deny the lies, because every day there is a new lie to generate fear and to win votes. I am going to deny them and I am going to speak the truth."
Compared to the preceding DataFolha poll conducted on October 6, in this latest survey Lula went up from 50% to 51% of the votes while Alckmin fell from 43% to 40% of the vote intentions. The margin of error is plus or minus two percentage points.
When only valid votes (without blank, void and undecided) are considered, Lula gets 56% against 44% of Alckmin, a 12-point difference. In the October 6 poll this advantage was smaller: 8 percentage points. Then Alckmin had 46% of the votes and Lula 54%.
The survey also showed that 43% of the voters thought that Alckmin had won the first TV debate while 41% believed Lula was the winner. Due to the poll’s margin of error, it can be said that the debate ended up a tie.
The DataFolha poll interviewed 2,868 voters in 194 municipalities from 25 states.
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