The Week Ahead in Brazil #124

What is happening in Brazil?

1. Politics – Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) and Jair Bolsonaro (PL) were the two most-voted candidates in the October 2 elections. Lula received 57,259,504 votes, or 48.43% of the valid votes, against 51,072,345 votes for Bolsonaro, representing 43.2%. Lula won in the North and Northeast, while Bolsonaro won in the Midwest, Southeast and South. (Folha)

In the elections for the Legislative branch in 2018, representatives from 30 parties were elected to the Chamber of Deputies; the representatives elected in 2022 are more concentrated, with 19 parties or federations. In the Senate, parties were reduced from 21 to 15. PL, the party of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL), won the largest bench in the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate.

Six political parties did not reach the so-called barrier clause: PTB, PSC, Patriota, PROS, Solidarity and Novo. In this way, they will not receive resources from the official electoral fund and will lose TV and radio time.

Several political actors announced support throughout the week for presidential candidates. Lula got support from former candidates Ciro Gomes (PDT) and Simone Tebet (MDB) and PSDB leaders such as former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso and senator Tasso Jereissati. In addition to the left-wing governors, Lula also received the support of Helder Barbalho (MDB-PA). Bolsonaro managed to secure the support of several governors: Rodrigo Garcia (PSDB-SP), Cláudio Castro (PL-RJ), Romeu Zema (Novo-MG), Ronaldo Caiado (União-GO) and Ibaneis Rocha (MDB-DF) and others.

Although they got the ordering of the candidates for President of Brazil right, the polls did not portray the result of the presidential election. AtlasIntel, MDA and Paraná polls were the most accurate, outperforming traditional institutes.

Source: AtlasIntel

The Ipec/Globo survey shows Lula (PT) leading voting intentions in the second round with 55% of the valid votes, followed by Bolsonaro (PL) with 45%. Lula has 51% of the total votes, compared to 43% for Bolsonaro. Whites, nulls and uncertain add up to 6%. The survey was conducted in person with 2,000 voters from 3 to 5 October (Estadão)

According to the PoderData survey, Lula (PT) has 52% of the valid votes and Bolsonaro 48%. In total votes, Lula has 38%, Bolsonaro 44%, and blank votes, null votes and those who do not know who to vote for add up to 8%. The survey interviewed 3,500 voters by phone between 3 and 5 October (Poder360)

The Quaest/Genial indicates Lula (PT) with 54% of the valid votes and Bolsonaro with 46%. Lula has 48% of the total votes, against 41% for Bolsonaro (PL). Blanks, null or undecided add up to 11%. The survey was conducted face-to-face with 2,000 voters between 3 and 5 October.

On average, the three polls indicate 53.7% of the valid votes for Lula and 46.3% for Bolsonaro.

2. Economy – September’s Business Confidence Index (ICE), measured by Fundação Getúlio Vargas, rose 0.8 points to 101.5, the highest level since August 2021 (102.5 points). (Valor)

Brazil’s trade balance registered a surplus of US$ 3.993 billion in September, a drop of 9.3% to the same month in 2021. The trade balance accumulated a positive balance until September of US$ 47.868 billion, 15.6% less than a year before. (Valor)

Brazil’s National Supply Company (Conab) foresees a new record in grain production, with 312.4 million tons in the 2022/23 harvest. The volume surpassed 41.5 million tons in the harvest of 2021/22, which was 270.9 million tons. (Brasil)

3. Public Administration – The Ministry of Economy has blocked R$ 51.3 million from the budget of the Ministry of Education exclusively in amendments of the general rapporteur (RP9). (Brazil)

A decree was published modernising the National Policy for Protection and Civil Defense, with the improvement of the legislation for obligatory transfers of Union resources for a complementary support to states and municipalities in prevention actions in risk areas, response and recovery in places affected by natural disasters. (Brazil)

An analysis

1. The trend for politics is positive. As predicted, the elections showed Lula and Bolsonaro as the most-voted candidates. The result sets them to a run-off on 30 October. Bolsonaro reduced institutional conflict in his pronouncements in the first week after the elections. Levels of popular support for the government improved slightly. The parliamentary coalition came out strengthened, with a low level of legislative renewal and impressed by the performance of candidates who joined Bolsonaro’s campaign.

During September, Lula was better positioned for the contest, as shown in previous reports. He led the polls, almost indicating his victory in the first round, and collected crucial political support, such as FHC and Marina Silva. Bolsonaro was 10 points behind Lula in the polls and had slipped in the weeks before the election. In addition, some politicians avoided explicit support for him, fearing his defeat in the first round.

After the first round, this picture changed radically. Bolsonaro exceeded expectations in the election and changed the legislature’s composition, both with the growth of the PL (which will become the largest party in the House and Senate) and the dominance of centre-right parties. In addition, it influenced the elections for governors and state and district deputies. As a result, Bolsonaro obtained political support that put him in better conditions than in the first round.

Bolsonaro’s candidacy won support from at least eight heavy-wight governors elected in the first round of voting (Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Paraná, Goiás, Federal District, Acre, Mato Grosso, and Roraima). The current governor of São Paulo, Rodrigo Garcia (PSDB), defeated in the first round, also supports Bolsonaro. Lula received the support of six governors (Ceará, Maranhão, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, Pará and Amapá).

Minas Gerais deserves a separate analysis. Bolsonaro lost to Lula in the state in the first round (48.29% to 43.60%), with a result practically equal to the national figures (48.43% against 43.20%). Minas is the second-largest electoral college and the state with the largest number of cities in Brazil (853). Zema’s support for Bolsonaro is essential to the point that he has already obtained the support of more than 600 mayors for the Bolsonaro campaign. It is undoubtedly a critical state for both presidential candidates and one that can define the course of the elections.

A final element of this analysis is a study of the first and second rounds of presidential elections. Except for the 2006 election, the voting difference between the two most voted candidates in the first-round decreases for the second round. For example: in 2014, the difference between Dilma and Aécio in the first round was 8.08pp and 3.28pp in the second round. As the difference in the 2022 election was 5.23pp in the first round, Lula and Bolsonaro will end the election with the smallest difference ever recorded between two candidates.


Source: prepared by the author based on TSE data

2. The economy follows a positive trend without significant changes.

3. Public administration continues in a neutral trend without significant changes.

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