Brazil's Leftist Voters Split in Fresh Poll on Presidential Race

(Bloomberg) -- Two leftist candidates, Fernando Haddad and Ciro Gomes, are vying for second place in a highly splintered field of contenders for Brazil’s presidency, according to the latest opinion poll.

Haddad, the Workers’ Party candidate, was backed by 16 percent of respondents in the Datafolha survey published early on Thursday, compared with 13 percent in the Sept. 14 poll and only 4 percent in August. Gomes, a former governor of the state of Ceara, garnered 13 percent, a statistical tie between the two of them. Former Army captain Jair Bolsonaro leads the race with 28 percent, edging up from 26 percent.

Brazil's Leftist Voters Split in Fresh Poll on Presidential Race

While this survey corroborates others in pointing to a right-left showdown in the elections, it indicated Gomes still stands a chance despite Haddad’s fast growth in recent polls. The Worker’s Party candidate has been on a tear since receiving the backing of popular former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who had his candidacy rejected due to a jail sentence for corruption.

Gomes and Haddad have both stoked investor concerns with calls for undoing market-friendly measures implemented by the current administration. Gomes has also pledged to expropriate oil fields sold to foreigners, while Haddad has promised increased scrutiny of banks.

Centrists Stall

Centrist candidate Geraldo Alckmin saw his support unchanged at 9 percent in the Datafolha survey, while Marina Silva’s slipped to 7 percent from 8 percent. If no candidate wins more than half of valid votes on Oct. 7, there will be a second round on Oct. 28.

Brazil's Leftist Voters Split in Fresh Poll on Presidential Race

In scenarios for a runoff, Gomes would be the most competitive candidate, as the survey shows him beating all others. A hypothetical runoff between Haddad and Bolsonaro showed each with 41 percent, according to the survey.

The Datafolha poll surveyed 8,601 people on Sept. 18-19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. The poll was registered with the Superior Electoral Court on Sept. 14.

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