Polls show Lula’s first rise this year in Brazil presidential race – Metro US

Polls show Lula’s first rise this year in Brazil presidential race

FILE PHOTO: Former Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva,
FILE PHOTO: Former Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, pre-candidate for the presidency of the Republic, attends an event called “Contagem abraca Lula” (Contagem hugs Lula), in Contagem

BRASILIA (Reuters) -Brazil’s leftist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made gains for the first time this year in two opinion polls published on Wednesday, extending his lead against incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro for the October election.

A Genial/Quaest poll said Lula has a 17-percentage-point lead over his far-right rival, up from 14 points last month, while a PoderData survey showed the former Workers Party president 7 percentage points ahead, two more than a fortnight ago.

Bolsonaro’s questioning of Brazil’s electronic voting system and clashes with the Supreme Court and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal have cost him the votes of Brazilian moderates and stalled recent gains, Quaest poll director Felipe Nunes said.

While Bolsonaro has railed against the system saying it is open to fraud, distrust of electronic voting machines among Brazilians has fallen, to 22% of the electorate from 27% in September, according to the Genial/Quaest poll, which showed support for Bolsonaro has declined after three months of gains.

If the election were held today, Lula would win 46% of the votes against 29% for Bolsonaro, an advantage that has risen to 17 percentage points from 14 points in April. Lula is now within the poll’s margin of error for reaching 50% of the votes and winning the election outright, according to the Quaest survey.

If the race goes to a second-round runoff, Lula would defeat Bolsonaro by 54% versus 34%, it said.

The PoderData poll has Lula winning a first-round vote by 42% of the votes against 35%, small changes that are within the margin of error. Two weeks ago the race was at 41% versus 36%.

Another Bolsonaro move that drove away moderate voters was granting a pardon to his ally Congressman Daniel Silveira hours after the Supreme Court sentenced him to jail for threats against the judiciary and Brazil’s democratic system.

The Quaest poll showed 45% of voters disagreed with the pardon while 30% approved of it.

“Voters believe the president is wrong to confront the Supreme Court, to question the credibility of electronic voting machines and to pardon a congressman convicted by the court,” Nunes said.

Moderate voters are key to winning the election because most supporters of Bolsonaro or Lula have already decided who they will vote for, and among moderates 54% disapprove of the pardon and only 17% approve, he added.

The Quaest poll, commissioned by Banco Genial, interviewed 2,000 people between May 5 and May 8 while PoderData, the poll division of the digital journal Poder360, interviewed 3,000 people by telephone between May 8 and May 10. Both polls have a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Lisa Shumaker)

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