Lula lead narrows on eve of tense Brazil runoff: poll

Leftist challenger Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's lead over far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro narrowed slightly on the eve of Brazil's polarizing presidential runoff, according to a poll published Saturday night.

Lula has 52 percent voter support to 48 percent for Bolsonaro, according to the poll from the Datafolha institute -- down from a six-point gap (53 percent to 47 percent) last week.

The figures exclude voters who plan to cast blank or spoiled ballots -- four percent of respondents, Datafolha estimates. Undecided voters represented just two percent.

The margin of error for the poll, which was based on interviews with 8,308 people on Friday and Saturday, was plus or minus two percentage points.

According to Datafolha, only half of those polled watched an insult-filled final debate between the rivals on Friday night, 19 percent of them until the end.

Lula, the charismatic but tarnished ex-president who led Brazil from 2003 to 2010, won the first round of the election on October 2 with 48 percent of the vote, to 43 percent for former army captain Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro and his allies have attacked polling firms, accusing them of bias.

He outperformed pollsters' expectations in the first round, triumphantly boasting afterward: "We beat the lie."

Lula, who turned 77 Thursday, leads among women (51 percent), the poor and working-class (57 percent), and Catholics (56 percent), according to Datafolha.

Bolsonaro, 67, leads among evangelical Christians (65 percent) and wealthier voters (52 percent).

fb/md