Glimmer of Hope Leads Brazil's Left to Make Last Push for Votes

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s Workers’ Party activists are redoubling their efforts to convince family, friends and strangers to vote for Fernando Haddad on Sunday, after they read a glimmer of hope into the latest opinion polls.

Haddad still lags frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro by a double-digit margin, but polls on both Thursday and Friday showed a slight narrowing of the gap and a fall in the PT candidate’s rejection rating. That slight uptick in fortunes has proved enough to reanimate fading leftwing hopes on social media and the streets as the clock ticks down on this rancorous election campaign. "Brazil Turns To Haddad" is the top trending topic on Twitter.

"We’re in the streets trying to get out of our social media bubbles and talk to the undecided," said Gabriel Barata Gomes, a 29-year old journalist pamphleting in downtown Rio de Janeiro. He added that so far he’d managed to convince 11 people to vote for Haddad. Elsewhere in the center of the city, a handful of well-known Brazilian actors set out deck-chairs and snacks in an effort to win over those who still aren’t sure.

Financial markets appeared unmoved by the last-minute hope stirring Haddad’s fans. Both Brazil’s currency and stocks rallied on the last trading day before the vote, defying a slump in global assets on expectations that Bolsonaro, considered the more pro-market candidate, has victory in the bag. The Brazilian real was up as much as 1 percent, leading gains in major currencies, while the benchmark Ibovespa index gained as much as 1.2 percent.

For Tathiana Abreu, a 24-year old translator and interpreter in Brasilia who’s reaching out to both her personal and virtual contacts to change minds, the election’s not over yet. "I do believe there is a chance for a Haddad turnaround, yes," she said. "Ideally we would have another week, it’s really a race against time."

In Sao Paulo, 56-year old university professor Paulo Cesar Boggiani, said he was taking tips from his daughter as to how to win over people on Facebook without being rude. "We’re trying to reach those who are still in doubt or those who are thinking of spoiling their ballots or nullifying their votes."

Bolsonaro got 56 percent of valid votes, while Haddad obtained 44 percent in a Datafolha poll published on Thursday evening.

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