Brazilian far-right presidential frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro and his team are increasingly confident of winning this month’s election, and have switched on “cruise control” as they seek to glide to victory, top campaign sources say.
Efforts to unite the Brazilian left against rightwing presidential frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro have snagged on internal squabbles, making it even harder to close a gap in opinion polls less than two weeks before the runoff election.
The latest poll, released by Ibope late on Monday, showed that Bolsonaro had a commanding lead over leftist rival Fernando Haddad, with 59% of valid votes against 41% for Haddad.
The poll, details of which ran in newspaper Estado de S Paulo on Tuesday, showed Haddad with a higher rate of “rejection” among voters ahead of the 28 October runoff, due in part to dislike of his Workers Party (PT) even among fellow leftists. About 47% of people polled said they would never vote for him, compared with 35% rejecting Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro has opened up a sizeable opinion poll lead over his leftist rival, Workers Party candidate Fernando Haddad, ahead of the Oct. 28 run-off vote, and is now seeking to avoid pitfalls and ride to the presidency on a wave of anger over graft, rising violence, and a weak economy.
Bolsonaro, who is still recovering from a near-fatal stab wound received on the campaign trail, will skip presidential debates and avoid campaigning, his would-be chief of staff, Congressman Onyx Lorenzoni, told Reuters on Tuesday.
Lorenzoni said the debates were pointless and made no difference to his candidate’s commanding lead in the race.
Bolsonaro has previously suffered in the polls after debate appearances, where his relative lack of expertise on economic matters was shown up under tough questioning. His poll numbers have increased since his stabbing on Sept. 6, which some attribute to his lower profile as he recovers.
In recent days, with victory ever-closer, Bolsonaro has ordered his team to step back from the limelight to avoid making public declarations that could hurt him in the final few days of the race, campaign sources told Reuters.
Luciano Bivar, a federal congressman and founder of Bolsonaro’s Social Liberal Party (PSL), said it was the right strategy.