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Election Race Closer Than Polls Suggested, But Lula Still Favourite


Despite a first-round election performance from incumbent right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro that exceeded expectations, leftist challenger Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva remains the favourite to emerge as the winner in the 30 October second-round run-off vote.

  • Lula fell just short of the 50%+1 required to win outright in the 2 October first round, garnering 48.4% of the vote. Bolsonaro came in second with 43.2% (the highest opinion polling score Bolsonaro achieved in the month before the vote was 41%).
  • Political betting markets have shown little movement since the announcement of the results, with Lula assigned a 72.5% implied probability of winning the election according to data from Smarkets. A small jump in Bolsonaro's numbers as the result came in has been swiftly pared back (see chart below).
  • The next month is likely to see political tensions in Latin America's largest economy remain elevated as the bitter political rivals strive to boost their support levels.
  • Close attention will be paid to Bolsonaro's rhetoric on the reliability of the election, with some seeing the incumbent as laying the groundwork for a challenge to the 2nd round result should he be defeated.
Chart 1. Betting Market Implied Probability of Next Brazilian President, %

Source: Smarkets

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