Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro sees his chances of reelection in October improve after a drop in unemployment announced Friday helped him narrow the gap against the former head of state Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva.
Unemployment fell to 11.2% between November of 2021 and January 2022, while Bolsonaro keeps allocating almost US$ 30 billion to policies aimed at reactivating consumption and keeping the economy as safe as possible from the war in Ukraine.
The new unemployment figures were 3.3% lower than those recorded in the same period of 2021, in addition to being the lowest since 2016, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
However, the purchasing power of salaries has dropped 9.7% year on year, while 4.2% of Brazilians have stopped looking for a job because they could not find one.
Nevertheless, pollster PoderData released a study Friday, which showed Bolsonaro was the candidate with the highest rate of rejection, as 51% of voters reportedly would pick any other contestant. It was a 9% improvement for Bolsonaro compared to December's numbers, while Lula remained the one with the lowest rejection rate: 44 %.
Quaest also published this week that Lula was the favorite for the October 2 elections with 44 % of the voting intentions followed by Bolsonaro's 26 %.
The trend thus is steady: Bolsonaro's figures keep improving, while those of Lula keep dropping, according to both researchers.
Bolsonaro's recovery is linked to a decline in unemployment and to social assistance through the Auxilio Brasil program, in addition to a decrease in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
It remains an enigma, however, whether Bolsonaro will manage to bring Lula to a runoff after Oct. 30.
In this scenario, Bolsonaro Thursday launched the Income and Opportunity program which will pump some R$ 150 billion (US$ 28 billion) into the economy through a series of measures.
”The war that may start will kill more people than the first and second world wars combined, this war is about our food, about food security (...) the basics will be missing”, Bolsonaro, a retired Army captain, has warned.
It also remains to be seen how a recent sharp increase in the price of fuel will impact Bolsonaro's trailing popularity.