RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – Leftist challenger Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s lead over far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro narrowed slightly on the eve of Brazil’s polarising presidential runoff, according to a poll published late on Saturday.
Lula has 52 per cent voter support to 48 per cent for Bolsonaro, according to the poll from the Datafolha institute – down from a six-point gap (53 to 47 per cent) on Thursday.
The figures exclude voters who plan to cast blank or spoiled ballots – four per cent of respondents, Datafolha estimates. Undecided voters represented just two per cent.
The margin of error for the poll, which was based on interviews with 8,308 people on Friday and Saturday, was plus or minus two percentage points.
According to Datafolha, only half of those polled watched an insult-filled final debate between the rivals on Friday night, 19 per cent of them until the end.
The poll indicated that 37 per cent thought Lula had come out on top during the debate, while 29 per cent thought Bolsonaro had performed best.
Lula, the charismatic but tarnished ex-president who led Brazil from 2003 to 2010, won the first round of the election on October 2 with 48 per cent of the vote, to 43 per cent for former army captain Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro and his allies have attacked polling firms, accusing them of bias. He outperformed pollsters’ expectations in the first round, triumphantly boasting afterward: “We beat the lie.”
Lula, 77, leads among women (51 per cent), the poor and working-class (57 per cent), and Catholics (56 per cent), according to Datafolha.