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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gestures as he attends the release of the book “Why is Lula innocent and why they tried to destroy the greatest leader of Brazil”‚ in Sao Paulo, Brazil August 12, 2021. REUTERS/Carla Carni

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva remains ahead of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro by a significant margin in voter preferences for the 2022 elections, a survey by pollster Datafolha showed on Friday.

The poll asked respondents to choose as if they were voting now. Voter support for Lula fell to 44% from 46% during July. Bolsonaro was up a percentage point at 26%.

A simulated runoff would see Lula win 56% votes against 31% for Bolsonaro, as opposed to 58%-31% in the previous poll. This poll did not allow for any variation between July and now.

Another poll also shows Lula having a clear advantage. Bolsonaro’s popularity drops due to high inflation, rising unemployment, and how he handled the COVID-19 epidemic.

The October 2022 election is not set.

Datafolha stated that the survey revealed that Bolsonaro’s Sept. 7 rallies to support him in his fight with the Supreme Court had not changed the electoral outlook.

Unfortunately, centrist candidates are not gaining traction. This disappoints parties trying to find a third way of breaking up the polarized Lula/Bolsonaro population. Right-wing groups calling to hold a rally entitled “Neither Lula Nor Bolsonaro” on Sept. 12, failed to attract much attention in Sao Paulo.

Support for Ciro Gomes, of the left-leaning Democratic Labor Party (PDT), and Governors Joao Doria (both of the centre-right Brazilian Social Democratic Party) remains low in single digits.

According to Datafolha data, Bolsonaro is at his lowest popularity since he took office in 2019. 53% of respondents disapproved of Bolsonaro compared with 51% who disapproved of him in July’s previous poll.

Datafolha reported that his positive rating fell from 24% to 22%. This poll shows that Bolsonaro’s attack on the Supreme Court has not been received well by voters worried about rising wages and low employment.

Datafolha surveyed 3,667 respondents in Brazil over the period of Sept. 13-15. There was a margin for error of 2 percentage points.

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