Brazil Presidential Election Odds: Bolsonaro Loses Ground On Favourite Lula

Brazil Presidential Election Odds: Bolsonaro Loses Ground On Favourite Lula
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UK betting sites expect the Brazil presidential election to go down to the wire as incumbent Jair Bolsonaro battles to keep his job against former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula).

Brazil failed to vote in a president during the first ballot at the beginning of October, with opposition leader Lula coming just shy of the 50% share needed to secure the post.

Bolsonaro – the controversial right-wing populist widely considered the Donald Trump of South American politics – lost the first vote to Lula by more than six million votes.

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The result means the pair have now entered into a secondary run-off vote, where Brazilians must once again head to the polls and back either the right or left-wing candidate.

The choice is fairly stark and familiar to voters. Bolsonaro is a controversial figure who refused to implement Covid-19 social distancing measures, and caused controversy over his views about the Covid-19 vaccine.

Lula, meanwhile, was president of Brazil between 2003 and 2010 and is seen by many as a candidate for hopeful change against the swing of populism. But the markets may favour Bolsonaro – and in times of economic crisis people are often swayed to change their vote.

It means bookmakers have had to scramble to keep pace with the constantly fluctuating odds, as bettors begin to back the underdog Bolsonaro.

The president is fighting hard for his job and has promised to deliver on a number of controversial reforms that he initially set out during his first term.

It all comes to a head on October 30 when the second round of voting takes place. And political betting traders reckon there is a good, but not overwhelming, chance of Brazil voting in a new president.

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Lula was the 3/10 favourite to win the Brazil presidential election before the first round of voting. 

Some pollsters expected him to surpass 50% of the vote share and automatically be crowned president without a second round, which is why the bookies had his chances of winning at 77%.

Bolsonaro, meanwhile, was a lowly 2/1 (33% possibility) to keep his job. It showed how much distrust bookies had in his ability to turn the polls around.

But then the election happened. Not only did Brazilians vote for Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party (PL) in their millions to elect candidates to the Chamber and Federal Senate, but they also backed him personally with 43.20% of the presidential vote.

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Meanwhile, Lula’s party (PT) gained far fewer seats as part of the Brazil of Hope coalition. Granted, Lula gained 48.34% of the presidential vote, but pundits, financial experts and everyone in between were surprised by how well Bolsonaro fared.

And UK bookmakers have taken note. Now Lula is the 4/7 favourite to win the presidency, a drop from being clear favourite at the start of October. And Bolsonaro’s odds have narrowed to 5/4, which suggests a 44% chance of him staying in power.

The polls, meanwhile, have collapsed in on each other. Lula’s lead has now shrunk to just a few percentage points, while Bolsonaro is rallying.

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What Happens Next In Brazil?

And so, the stage is nicely set for a monumental presidential election on October 30. 

More than 123 million Brazilians voted in the first round, with a turnout of just above 79%. That is a remarkable turnout and shows just how seriously the country is taking this election.

Bolsonaro has certainly rallied his supporters but there is a risk he inadvertently turns voters against him. A right-wing ally of his, Roberto Jefferson, reportedly used hand grenades and a rifle to resist arrest recently, claiming he did it “in the name of freedom, democracy and family values”.

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Bolsonaro’s support has always sided with the machismo but, much like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson in the US and UK, that populist approach tends to lose backers over time.

Lula has been fairly steady-handed in his approach to the election, and recently raised concerns Bolsonaro may not accept defeat. 

Described as the “most loved and most hated” politician in Brazil, Lula divides opinion due to his left-wing policies that some believe have left regions behind.

The polls suggest Lula will win, as do the odds. Even bettors are favouring the opposition leader, with 58% of all bets on the Brazil presidential election falling to Lula. 

But Bolsonaro has already proved a fighter in this contest, and won’t back down until every vote is counted.

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