BRASILIA (Reuters) – The heat of the Brazilian presidential race tightened in several polls on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s vote. Most polls show right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro losing a slight edge to left-wing challenger Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.
Polls by poll firms Datafolha and Quaest both showed Lula with 52% of the valid votes against Bolsonaro’s 48%, putting the incumbents close to a come-from-behind victory from a 6 percentage point lead three days earlier.
Lula’s advantage has dropped to just two percentage points, according to a poll by the pollster MDA. This is the same margin of error in a study commissioned by the CNT, a transportation sector lobby group.
Most polls suggest Lula is marginally likely to win reelection for a third term, curbing a stunning political recovery after her corruption convictions were overturned. But Bolsonaro topped the polls in his Oct. 2 first round, with many analysts saying the election could go either way.
However, final polls by polling firms IPEC and AtlasIntel showed Lula holding a steady, slightly larger lead.
IPEC led the left with 54% to 46% of valid votes, excluding undecided voters and voters planning to spoil the ballot. AtlasIntel, one of his most accurate polling firms in the first round, showed it holds Lula’s lead by 7 percentage points.
Bolsonaro wrapped up his campaign in the key state of Minas Gerais. Lula told foreign reporters that his rival was unfit to rule as he walked along one of São Paulo’s main thoroughfares with thousands of supporters.
Deeply polarized numbers also attacked each other’s personalities and records in the final televised debate Friday night. Instead, it started the debate by announcing that it would increase the minimum wage to 1,400 reais ($260) per month if re-elected.
Analysts show polls have largely stabilized since Lula led the first-round vote by five percentage points, as their campaign focused on shaking up key backlogs. In an argument to win the race, the president said he got little.
The result was more favorable for Bolsonaro than most polls suggested, giving him momentum at the start of the month, but the last two weeks of the campaign have been a headwind.
A week ago, one of Bolsonaro’s supporters opened fire on a federal officer who tried to arrest him.
On Sunday, one of his closest associates, Congressman Carla Zamberg, chased a Lula supporter at gunpoint into a restaurant in Sao Paulo after a political debate on the street, according to a social media video. indicated by Mr Zamberg told reporters that he had deliberately opposed election laws banning him from carrying a firearm 24 hours before the election.
In the month’s first head-to-head debate, Lula denounced Bolsonaro’s handling, with Bolsonaro focusing on the corruption scandal that has damaged the reputation of Lula’s Workers’ Party.
On Friday night, both candidates returned repeatedly to Lula’s second term as president from 2003 to 2010. At that time, soaring commodity prices were boosting the economy and fighting poverty. Lula vowed to revive the boom era, but Bolsonaro suggested that current social programs would be more effective.
Reporting by Ricardo Brito and Anthony Bordle from Brasilia, Gabriel Stargarter from Rio de Janeiro and Brian Ellsworth from Sao Paulo.Editing by Brad Haynes, Chris Reese and Daniel Wallis
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.