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Brazil presidential elections: Jair Bolsonaro proves the polls wrong and forces the socialist opponent to the second round


Brazil’s incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro started the night with a modest 8% lead as the results began to trickle in, but over the course of the night Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, trimmed that lead to slow and steady way. At 8 p.m., with 70% reporting, Lula took a slight lead over Bolsonaro, ultimately ending up with 48% to Bolsonaro’s 43.5%, a significantly tighter result than the polls indicated.

The recovery of Lula’s leadership was a reflection of a slower vote count coming from smaller states in the north of the country.

Bolsonaro appears to have outperformed in the south and southeast, particularly well in the state of Sao Paulo and his political power base in Rio de Janeiro. Vote-rich Minas Gerais, the second largest in the country, was hotly contested, with the lead changing several times, but ultimately ending up in Lula’s column.

Lula performed extremely well in the traditional Workers’ Party power base of the Northeast or “Northeast” region, racking up large margins in states like Ceará, Bahia and his home state of Pernambuco.

BRAZIL’S BOLSONARO AND LULA GO TO THE SECOND ROUND IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

Brazil’s incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro started the night with a modest 8% lead as the results began to trickle in, but over the course of the night Lula slowly and steadily trimmed that lead.
(Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)

Since neither candidate won 50%, Lula and Bolsonaro will now face off in a runoff election on October 30, when they will compete for the voters who backed third-place Simone Tebet and fourth-place Ciro Gomes.

Leftist Gomes turned out to be the big disappointment of the night. Known for having the sharpest tongue in Brazilian politics, he suffered abandonment through strategic voting by supporters who realized his campaign had no chance and likely switched votes to Lula.

The Bolsonaro camp often complained that the polls were biased and flawed, and now it appears they had a legitimate basis for doing so. The country’s main pollsters, Datafolha, Quaest and IPEC, among others, will no doubt come under scrutiny in the run-up to the second round of elections at the end of the month.

What is clear is that the methodology of the Brazilian pollsters was misaligned by a considerable margin. While the latest polls showed Lula with leads of between 7% and 17%, these differed considerably from the actual margin of 4.5 points in Lula’s result.

For political analysts, the results from Brazil may bring to mind episodes such as Donald Trump’s surprise in 2016, the Brexit vote and Colombia’s peace referendum in 2016. Bolsonaro’s supporters are likely to be angry and have less faith in the polls than before. They may be justified in those sentiments.

As political analyst Cristian Derosa argues, “There is no longer any doubt about the use of polls as a means to influence [the electorate].”

A VICTORY FOR THE LEFT IN THE BRAZIL ELECTIONS COULD BE THE LIFESAVER THAT CUBA AND VENEZUELA NEED RIGHT NOW

Campaign poster for left-wing presidential candidate Lula da Silva in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Campaign poster for left-wing presidential candidate Lula da Silva in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
(David Unsworth for Fox News Digital)

What is clear from tonight’s results is that Brazil remains a deeply divided country politically. Only three of the 26 states of Brazil concentrate 40% of its population: Sao Paulo with 22%, Minas Gerais with 10% and Rio de Janeiro with 8%. These southern states are generally more conservative, while the northeastern states lean to the left.

Bolsonaro and Lula are very different ideologically, and Brazil’s 156 million voters are often divided along racial, regional, gender and age lines that are not that different from those in the United States.

As to why the polls were so far off, there are many theories.

Brazilian soccer star Neymar’s endorsement a few days ago may seem trivial, but in Brazil, where “football” has an almost religious status, his endorsement (for which he was widely criticized on social media) may have changed some points. in the direction of Bolsonaro.

Derosa argues that it probably had an appreciable effect: “In the last few days… it could have made a big difference.”

Brazil’s political system is complicated by its large number of political parties: 33 to be precise. Parties are famous for constantly changing alliances, and many of Brazil’s top politicians have changed parties four or five times, or even more.

Since neither candidate won 50%, Lula and Bolsonaro will now face off in a runoff election on October 30, where they will compete for the voters who backed third-place Simone Tebet and fourth-place Ciro Gomes.

Since neither candidate won 50%, Lula and Bolsonaro will now face off in a runoff election on October 30, where they will compete for the voters who backed third-place Simone Tebet and fourth-place Ciro Gomes.
(Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)

While Bolsonaro is likely to face an uphill battle in the second round due to his vote deficit with Lula, there was other good news for the Bolsonaro camp tonight.

Candidates affiliated with Bolsonaro fared well in the gubernatorial and congressional elections, in which Brazilians elect governors in all 26 states and Brasilia, 513 federal deputies (to the lower house of Brazil’s Congress), and a third of its 81 senators, which corresponds to one for each state.

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Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party won 100 seats in the lower house against 79 for the Workers’ Party, and 13 seats in the Senate against nine for the Workers’ Party, and other allied parties such as the Progressive Party and the Republicans as well. They did well.

In the country’s most important gubernatorial election, the Bolsonaro-aligned Tarcisio de Freitas appears poised to defeat Workers’ Party candidate (and 2018 presidential candidate) Fernando Haddad in a runoff election for governor of Sao Paulo on next month.



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