Former Portuguese ambassador to Brazil, Francisco Seixas da Costa, on Monday said polls in Brazil failed to take into account the “shame effect” of voters voting for an extremist candidate.
“The specialists in Brazilian polls did not take into account, or felt that they should not take into account what had happened,” already in the 2018 elections, where the candidate Jair Bolsonaro had “much more votes than what the polls gave them.” told .” gave”, because of the “shame effect”.
But “the shame effect” occurs when an extremist candidate is at stake, and “apparently it remains significant,” the diplomat and analyst in Brazilian affairs notes, noting that it happens when the voter “is confronted during the polls” and not “it means you’re going to vote” for that far-right candidate.
Therefore, “Lula’s result [da Silva, candidato apurado para a segunda volta] remains, albeit on a lower scale, but within what was predictable, 48.5%” and that of candidate Jair Bolsonaro “much higher and in particular the results of the two candidates immediately following are also much lower”, Ciro Gomes and Simone Tebet.
In his opinion, “the biggest effect” was in the mood of Ciro Gomes, who was “running a campaign that was a bit disastrous, very personal and very inflexible”.
So part of that candidate’s votes went to Jair Bolsonaro, the current president of the country, and others to the candidate, former head of state of Brazil, Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva.
As for the second round of the election, which will be contested by Lula da Silva and Bolsonaro on October 30, the ambassador does not risk betting on a possible victory for either of the two candidates. “Everything is open,” he said, and it only takes “a little mistake” in the campaign for one of them to win.
“Lula theoretically needs only 1.5% of the voter displacement of those who voted [na primeira volta] in Tebet or Ciro Gomes” representing a total of 8.5% of the electorate, and “then there are five million people who either voted blank or abstained, which is a possibility in the ballot box”. So in total, Seixas da Costa points to a total universe of 13 million people for the candidate to get 1.5% more votes.
Therefore, it’s “theoretically possible” that Lula “knocks out that 1.5%,” he said, but warned, “We never know the dynamics of a runoff.”
Also because Bolsonaro, on the other hand, plays with an advantage, taking into account the relative positioning of the parties that support him in the different states.
“It is much more comfortable to be able to campaign with the support of those who have won, for example in the case of Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro”, some of the most important states and cities of the country.
According to the former Portuguese ambassador to Brazil, everything will depend a lot on the debates, on the campaign, “because with an election this close, everything could depend on a small factor”.
As for the support of other candidates in the first round of any candidate, he sees only one possibility, that of Senator Simone “Tebet says he will vote for Lula”, express or not. That aside, “a large proportion of PDT voters, including Ciro Gomes, will vote for Lula,” although he points out that some may follow the center-left candidate “in their hatred of Lula.”
However, for the diplomat, there is a “very important” factor in this second round, which could complicate the candidates’ task, which is “the high rejection rate of both”, that is, there are many people who say that they never vote for Lula and many people who assume they will never vote for Bolsonaro, “which makes these highly radicalized sectors relatively immobile.
“Today, Lula is a much more controversial character” than he was, as the ‘Mensalão’, the ‘Petrolão’, the ‘Lava Jato’ and the prisons took place, he said, referring to the trials that arose during the former president’s administration and in which he was accused of involvement in corruption, while “Bolsonaro never stopped being controversial,” he stressed.
On the other hand, “it will be very difficult to dismantle the apparatus of evangelical support that Bolsonaro has” or Lula will seek votes in sectors that typically support Bolsonaro, such as agribusiness.
“It was one thing for Bolsonaro to be 13 points away from Lula,” because people could imagine that his chance of winning would be slim. Now, in the current scenario, “his chance of winning is just as high as that.” from Lula,” he pointed out.
What can now be seen is that “today the spectrum of votes in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies is very favorable for Bolsonaro, that is, the right has won very strongly and therefore people may think that Bolsonaro has an extraordinary capacity, because it has a lot more delegates in its favor,” he stressed.
For the ambassador, “this is true and it is not”. Because if Lula wins the election, “many of these deputies and parties, who are now with Bolsonaro, will be with Lula”.
According to official data, Lula da Silva got 47.85% of the vote in the first round, while Bolsonaro had 43.70%, when 96.93% of the polls were good, forcing a second round.