Brazil's former leftist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva could beat President Jair Bolsonaro in a first-round vote if the 2022 election were held today, according to a new opinion poll.
The survey by pollster Inteligencia em Pesquisa e Consultoria (IPEC), published on Friday in newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, showed 49% of respondents backing Lula compared with just 23% for Bolsonaro.
To win a first-round vote, candidates in Brazil need over 50% of valid votes, which excludes blank and spoiled ballots. With 10% of the respondents saying they would vote blank or null, the poll suggests Lula could stroll to victory.
The in-person survey by IPEC, founded by pollsters formerly at leading opinion research firm IBOPE, is the latest poll to suggest an increasingly tough outlook for Bolsonaro's re-election hopes. The far-right former army captain has lost support due to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over half a million Brazilians.
The poll also underlines one of the most dramatic reversals in Brazilian politics. In jail when Bolsonaro was elected, Lula has since had his corruption convictions thrown out by the Supreme Court, allowing him to run for a third term next year in what is certain to be a polarizing election.
The poll found that center-left former lawmaker Ciro Gomes trailed Lula and Bolsonaro with 7%. Center-right São Paulo Governor João Doria was next with 5%, ahead of the Bolsonaro's former health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, with 3%. According to the survey, 10% of respondents said they would leave their ballots blank and 3% did not respond or said they did not know.
IPEC interviewed 2,002 voters in 141 cities between June 17 and 21 in its first public survey about the 2022 election, with a margin of error of 2 percentage points up or down.