All Liberal hopes went to the gutter when the right-leaning incumbent Brazilian President Bolsonaro performed much better in the first round of voting than what the most trustworthy polls expected him to. Bolsonaro has been a controversial figure in Brazil but so has the left-leaning former President Lula who ruled from 2003-2010. Bolsoanro’s recent troubles during the pandemic and amid the Ukraine war reportedly made him unpopular, a fact which was expected to act against Bolsonaro in the elections.
Bolsonaro’s unexpected recovery after the results of the first round of voting was announced, clarifies that some things were not taken into account by the polls and there is still a great possibility for a comeback.
Bolsonaro Could Still Go On
The former President Lula maintained a five-point lead against the incumbent President Bolsonaro in the first round of voting held on Oct 2. Well, if you feel that it is a bad thing for the incumbent President, it in reality is not. You see, Bolosonaro has had trouble with his popularity recently. Many polls were predicting Lula to gain a 14-point lead on Bolsonaro in the first round of the voting, thereby quashing the need for the second round of voting. If Lula could have secured more than 50% of the votes, he would have risen to the top post. Lula’s vote share stood at around 48%, while 43% of the voters backed Bolsonaro. Lula’s inability to secure 50% of the votes pushed the elections into the second phase to be held on Oct 30.
Why is Bolsonaro stronger than critics think?
For starters, Evangelical Christianity in Brazil has expanded since 1980 from less than 10% of Brazil’s population to about a third today. A culturally conservative populace makes up a huge chunk of voters who are reportedly unwavering allies of the Bolosonaro administration. Bolosonaro has brought upon himself the loss of faith of the educated middle-class population residing in cities. His comments on the Covid Pandemic have made things worse. He called COVID-19 “a little flu,” admonishing his countrymen to stop being “sissies,” and dragging his feet on vaccine purchases.
If he had been more considerate, he would not have lost so much popularity but there is still hope. Bolsonaro still has a chance to rise on the good old wave of conservatism. Some 70% of Brazilians oppose legalizing abortion or drugs, while also oppose gay marriage and favor religious instruction in schools. Bolsonaro needs to capture an already loyal population base by solidifying their faith in Conservatism.
Also, he has not really been the leader who did everything wrong. Although he is being accused of destroying the Amazon rainforests, his actions have led the way for the development of a booming agribusiness sector which has become one of the country’s only reliable economic motors, which is why Amazon deforestation was a virtual non-issue for most Brazilian voters in this election. The polls have reignited faith in the Bolsonaro camp and could now find a way to reignite nationalistic feelings to close the gap so that Brazil could get rid of Lula at last.