Updated: Oct 21, 2018
According to a poll conducted by Datafolha on October 10 and published a day later, Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) is likely to defeat Fernando Haddad (PT) by a wide margin during the second round of the general elections. Datafolha indicates that while Bolsonaro will secure 49% of votes, Haddad will obtain 36%. The poll further indicates that whilst Ciro Gomes’ (PDT) supporters are more likely to support Haddad (58%), those who initially voted for Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) are more inclined to vote for Bolsonaro (42%). According to a survey conducted by the same pollster between September 18-19, whereas Bolsonaro stood to secure 22% of votes in the first round, Haddad was looking at obtaining 16%. Eventually, in the first round on October 7, the former obtained 46% of votes and the latter 29%.
Local pundits suggest Bolsonaro will continue capitalizing on anti-PT sentiment, which remains strong among middle-class voters. Despite attempts by Haddad in the second round to disassociate himself from former President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, currently imprisoned on corruption charges, he is unlikely to sway most center- to right-leaning voters to welcome his platform. At some extent Datafolha’s findings highlight this trend, showcasing that although Haddad has attracted some support from moderates, there is still a very strong rejection of the PT that boosts his opponent. In turn, Bolsonaro seems to be moderating his speech ahead of the upcoming vote in order to appeal to a larger electorate, in particular to assuage those who see him as a threat to democracy and human rights in Brazil. For instance, during a televised speech in the elections’ aftermath, Bolsonaro stated that he would pledge to keep the constitutional order, which he has traditionally lambasted throughout the years. Bearing in mind citizens who voted for either Bolsonaro or Haddad are unlikely to switch position in the second round, the distribution of votes from the other first-round candidates is the key factor. Haddad has grown more in the Datafolha poll than Bolsonaro, as many center and left-leaning voters choose what they perceive as “the least evil” from two bad options, yet many center- and right-leaning voters refuse to vote for the PT, and therefore the path for a Haddad victory is much harder than Bolsonaro's, a trend we assess unlikely to change ahead of the vote.