Brazil’s Lula Scare Tactics Widen His Lead in Reelection Bid

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva widened his lead over rival Geraldo Alckmin, the former governor of the country’s richest and most-populous state, in a DataFolha poll.

Lula’s lead over Alckmin, of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, rose to 19 percentage points in a poll conducted Oct. 16-17 from 11 points in an Oct. 10 survey, the pollster said on its Web site.

Lula gained support after he successfully stepped up his criticism of Alckmin and claimed the former São Paulo governor would cut federal aid and try to privatize some government assets, Fleischer said.

"By saying that Alckmin would privatize state assets, Lula touched on a point that the Brazilian electorate is very sensitive about," said David Fleischer, a political science professor at the University of Brasí­lia.

"Alckmin is making a mistake by not talking down those points because he’s still lecturing to a more educated and affluent population and not talking in the language of the common Brazilian."

Alckmin has said he doesn’t plan to sell off assets of state-controlled companies, such as Petrobras, Petróleo Brasileiro SA.

Support for Lula in the latest poll rose to 57% from 51% in the previous survey, while support for Alckmin fell to 38% from 40% of total votes. Excluding blank and invalid votes, Lula received 60% support and Alckmin got 40%, DataFolha said.

Lula’s backing in the Southeast, which accounts for 44% of the country’s voters, rose to 52% from 45% in the previous poll, while backing for Alckmin fell to 41% from 45%.

"Lula’s chances of winning the runoff election are now 70%, especially because he surpassed Alckmin in the Southeast region, including the state of São Paulo, where he lost in the first round," Fleischer said in a phone interview.

The survey of 7,133 voters in 348 cities in the country had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

In the October 1 first-round election, Lula took 49% of the votes, compared with Alckmin’s 42%. That forced both candidates into a runoff on Oct. 29.

Mercopress

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