BRASILIA, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Brazil’s presidential race has tightened ahead of Sunday’s vote, multiple opinion polls showed on Saturday, with right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro eroding a slight advantage for left-wing challenger Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in most polls.
Polls from pollsters Datafolha and Quaest both showed Lula holding 52% of valid votes to Bolsonaro’s 48%, down from a 6 percentage point lead three days earlier, putting the incumbent within striking distance of a victory from behind .
A survey by pollster MDA showed Lula’s advantage slipping to just 2 percentage points, equal to the margin of error in the poll commissioned by transport industry lobby CNT.
Most polls still suggest Lula is the slight favorite to return for a third term, capping a remarkable political rebound after his jailing for corruption convictions that were overturned. But Bolsonaro outperformed opinion polls in the first-round vote on Oct. 2, and many analysts say the election could go either way.
Final opinion polls from IPEC and AtlasIntel pollsters, however, showed Lula holding a stable and slightly larger lead.
IPEC gave the left a 54% lead to 46% of valid votes, excluding undecided voters and those planning to spoil their ballot. AtlasIntel, among the most accurate first-round pollsters, showed Lula’s lead held at 7 percentage points.
Bolsonaro concluded his campaign in the key state of Minas Gerais, leading a motorcycle rally with supporters. Lula marched with thousands of supporters down one of Sao Paulo’s main avenues after telling foreign reporters that his rival was unfit to govern.
The deeply polarizing personalities also tackled each other’s character and record during their final televised debate on Friday night. Bolsonaro opened the debate by denying reports that he could delink the minimum wage from inflation, announcing instead that he would raise it to 1,400 reais ($260) a month if re-elected, a move that is not included in his government’s 2023 budget.
With their campaigns focused on influencing crucial undecided votes, analysts said the president had gained little ground in the debate to win a race that polls had shown to be roughly stable since Lula led the vote in the first turn 5 percentage points.
That result was better for Bolsonaro than most polls had shown, giving him momentum to start the month, but the final two weeks of the campaign presented headwinds.
A week ago, one of Bolsonaro’s allies opened fire on federal police officers who came to arrest him.
On Sunday, one of his closest aides, lawmaker Carla Zambelli, chased a Lula supporter into a restaurant in Sao Paulo at gunpoint after a political row on the street, videos showed on social media. social. Zambelli told reporters she knowingly defied an election law that bans the carrying of firearms 24 hours before an election.
In their first one-on-one debate this month, Lula blasted Bolsonaro’s handling of a pandemic in which nearly 700,000 Brazilians have died, while Bolsonaro focused on the corruption scandals that tarnished the reputation of Lula’s Workers’ Party.
On Friday night, the two candidates repeatedly revisited Lula’s two terms as president from 2003 to 2010, when high commodity prices helped boost the economy and fight poverty. Lula promised to revive those boom times, while Bolsonaro suggested that current social programs are more effective.
Reporting by Ricardo Brito and Anthony Boadle in Brasilia, Gabriel Stargardter in Rio de Janeiro and Brian Ellsworth in Sao Paulo; Editing by Brad Haynes, Chris Reese and Daniel Wallis
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