Brazil: Subsidies help Bolsonaro narrow electoral gap from Lula
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s popularity among lower-class people was on the rise 2 months ahead of the elections, according to a survey released Wednesday.
The study carried out by pollsters Quaest also showed the right-wing leader’s approval among the poor bounced back after increasing the Auxilio Brasil subsidy scheme and is bound to keep growing.
Still, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the Workers’ Party (PT, left) is ahead with 44% of voting intentions, while Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party (PL, right) would garner 32% of the votes.
The Quaest poll has a margin of error of minus/plus two points.
Lula fell one point compared to June’s measurements and Bolsonaro improved by one point in general, but in a sharper way among those who receive the Auxilio Brasil aid, which has just been raised from R$ 400 to R$ 600 (US$ 80 to US$120).
Within that social segment, Lula had 62% support in June against Bolsonaro’s 29%, but the leftwing leader dropped to 52% the following month.
Quaest Director Felipe Nunes said that today’s survey brings up concrete evidence that the voter who receives Auxiliary Brazil [aid] started to vote more for Bolsonaro; this means that there may be a greater effect in August when the increase will start to be effective.
Auxiliary Brazil is expected to be pivotal in Bolsonaro’s electoral growth. But Nunes admitted that only next month will it be known by how much and if it is enough to reverse the foreseeable outcome of the elections.
The key day for Bolsonaro’s electoral strategy will probably be August 9, when the increase of the Auxilio Brasil, which benefits more than 50 million people, will begin to be paid. On that same August 9, it may be announced that there was deflation in July, something that Bolsonaro himself anticipated in statements made Tuesday.
Last month Congress approved a package of bonuses worth around US$ 8 billion in addition to Auxilio Brasil, days after passing a bill to cut down fuel taxes, thus lowering inflation.
Nunes insisted that for the bulk of the 156 million voters, economic and social agendas carried more weight than security and violence, which were important in 2018 when Bolsonaro was elected. Of course, the economy is still the main issue for 40% of Brazilian voters, he underlined.
With Lula still ahead among those who prioritize economic and social issues, Bolsonaro will have to demonstrate that he is competent to solve those matters; he already has the upper hand among citizens concerned about security and violence, Nunes added.
In case of a second round, Lula would beat Bolsonaro by 51% of the votes against the incumbent leader’s 37%, Quaest said.