By assuming an electoral strategy focused on anti-Petism, presidential candidates of the so-called third way contradict the tendency of part of their electorate to converge towards anti-Bolsonarism in an eventual runoff between Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) and Jair Bolsonaro (no party).
The anti-PT tactic is based on the presidential candidates’ calculation that their participation in the second round will only come at the expense of Bolsonaro’s meltdown, which would lead them to a confrontation with Lula.
Among strategists from Ciro Gomes’ PDT and João Doria and Eduardo Leite’s PSDB, the idea is to dig for the second phase of the election with the argument that the third way has a chance of defeating Lula, while Bolsonaro lost this ability due to the disapproval and rejection records.
If the second round between Lula and Bolsonaro is confirmed, a Datafolha poll shows that, today, anti-Bolsonarism would be a greater force than anti-Petism in the second stage of the election, which makes the tactic of targeting Lula more risky, as it would drive away a portion of occasional supporters.
Voters of Ciro and the two toucans, who dispute the PSDB’s caucuses to choose the presidential candidate, tend to prefer the PT, although the portion that would vote for Bolsonaro or none is also expressive to the point of causing ties within the margin of error with the pro-Lula part.
The Datafolha survey, carried out from September 13th to 15th, heard 3,667 voters in person in 190 cities. The result showed Lula maintaining a large advantage over Bolsonaro at the front of the dispute.
Ciro, who since 2018 expanded the PT’s detachment and adopted mutual criticism of Bolsonaro and Lula as the focus of his pre-campaign for 2022, should maintain this line, according to allies, in order to present himself as a different option, or that is, a type of government that has not yet been tried.
The attacks on Lula, however, cause noise not only among a portion of supporters, but also among party colleagues, as shown by the sheet in June.
Among those who vote for Ciro in the first round, 58% vote for Lula and 17% choose Bolsonaro in a second round without the presence of the pedetista — 26% do not want either of them. The margin of error is five points plus or minus.
The president of the PDT in São Paulo, Antonio Neto, affirms that the party is “convinced to present an alternative” that is “neither the past nor the present”. “We are going to hit the system, not the party or the people. We want to change this policy and we are going to have to open it up”, he says.
Asked about Ciro making a mistake in attacking Lula and Bolsonaro personally, Neto says he sees no mistake. “He has data and information to say this, he knows the actors well. Ciro speaks of the vision he had from within”, he continues. The presidential candidate was a minister in the Lula government.
For former federal deputy Miro Teixeira (PDT-RJ), the overlapping of part of Ciro’s and Lula’s electorates is something natural and criticisms of the PT era are well founded. “Regardless of the words of Ciro about Lula and Lula about Ciro, it is the electorate that makes the alliance, it is they who choose,” he says.
Miro also claims that his work and that of the militancy “is for Ciro to be in the second round” and that the pre-candidate’s strategy to differentiate himself from the current research leaders is the only possible one. “If Ciro supported one of the two [Lula ou Bolsonaro], he would not be a candidate”, he summarizes.
The main forces within the PSDB today, Doria and Leite will adopt different strategies, in case of victory in the caucuses. Both will follow their current lines — the gaucho with a more measured opposition, while the paulista does not spare the incisive rhetoric against Lula and Bolsonaro.
Doria, who is in a clash with Bolsonaro over the management of the pandemic and has become one of the main names in opposition to the president, said on Monday (20) that the anti-PT tone will be strong if his attempt to reach the Highland.
“This antipetism will be predominant within our campaign, very clearly,” he said.
Upon making his registration in the caucuses, the toucan directly criticized former presidents Lula and Dilma Rousseff (both from the PT), citing “the biggest corruption scheme ever known”, but left the criticisms of Bolsonaro’s government implicit, mentioning democratic setback and defense of the electronic ballot box.
Although the São Paulo native is turning his sights on the PT, Datafolha shows that his voters tend to prefer Lula to Bolsonaro in a second round between the two. In total, 42% say they would choose Lula, against 23% who would vote for Bolsonaro. A significant portion of 35% said they would vote null or blank. The margin of error in this case is seven points plus or minus.
Despite this, allies of the governor and even members of the PSDB leadership do not consider it a mistake to adopt the anti-petismo strategy. That’s because, according to them, if Doria makes it to the second round, it will probably be against Lula — who wins in every second round scenario today.
The state president of the PSDB in São Paulo, Marco Vinholi, evaluates Doria’s tactics as correct. “The numbers show that whoever is able to defeat Lula in the second round is the third way. The Pocket project has lost its consistency and electoral viability,” he says.
For the toucans, while Bolsonaro naturally melts, attacks on Lula would make the electorate recall corruption scandals from the PT era. The reading is that the Brazilian tends towards conservatism and to the right and created a revulsion for the PT, so much so that it elected Bolsonaro. Hence the intention to wave to this group.
There is also the issue that a significant portion of the electorate of the previous tucanas, including a good part of the PSDB federal deputies, is aligned with Bolsonaro, which would explain Doria’s speech about the predominance of antipetismo in her campaign.
Party members say, however, that the caucus’ adherence to the government is a side aspect when thinking about electoral tactics. Pressure is growing on the PSDB for deputies loyal to Bolsonaro to fit into the role of opposition or leave the acronym.
Allies of Doria heard by sheet they emphasize, however, that the governor of São Paulo will not only be anti-Lula, but also anti-Bolsonaro, and they preached the middle way.
Vinholi says the bet is on a “center voter, against the two extremes”. “We are positioned as an alternative route to both with the same intensity. We are ‘anti-bolsopetistas'”, he sums up. For the leader, the numbers of the polls will only be consolidated later on.
Leite, unlike Doria, stated on Tuesday (21), that he will not base his campaign on anti-Petismo or anti-Bolsonarism and preached the country’s conciliation. His entry letter in the previews has veiled criticisms from both sides.
According to Datafolha, its voters would be divided, in a second round, in 43% for Lula, 27% for Bolsonaro and 27% in null or white. The margin of error is plus or minus eight points. Leite said it was too early to draw conclusions from the polls, but highlighted the high rejection of current leaders.
`The strategy of the governor of Rio Grande do Sul, however, is to talk to the voter who rejects not only the figures of Lula and Bolsonaro, but the polarization itself. THE sheet he says that antipetismo is not an adequate electoral strategy and that “the country lacks a construction project”.
“We don’t need a third pole of radicalization. We need a third way.
“I look to the election and post-election 2022. Brazil needs to overcome this political crisis. We have to win in the right way. For our qualities and virtues of our project, and not for the defects of others.”
On Tuesday, Leite responded to Doria’s statement about antipetismo and said he had a different style, of “not promoting attacks on people”. According to him, people can’t stand what he called war anymore.
“I don’t want to be president to fight Lula or Bolsonaro,” the letter says. The Gaucho, however, did not fail to criticize both when he stated that the current president does not respect spaces for contestation and that his election was “the result of a policy made with division by the Workers’ Party itself”.
The bet of the third way on antipetismo makes sense, however, according to the trends pointed out by Datafolha of migration of the Pocket Narist vote — in case Bolsonaro does not reach the second round, as toucans and pedetistas hope.
The survey shows that almost half of the Pocket members reject choosing Lula and is resistant to a third way. Such a portion could be attracted by the antipetism shown by PDT and PSDB candidates.
Bolsonaro’s voter attraction is greatest with Ciro. Between the pedetista and Lula, 11% of the Pocket members would vote for the PT and there is a tie in the margin of error, of three points in this case, between those who would vote for Ciro (46%) or none, white or null (42%).
In the choice between Lula and Doria (strong opponents of the president), most of Bolsonaro’s voters don’t want anyone: 48%. A slice of 12% choose Lula, and 39% prefer Doria. The margin of error is three points.
In the opposite situation and considered less possible —of Lula not reaching the second round and the third way facing Bolsonaro—, Datafolha shows that PT members migrate in majority to Ciro (75%) and Doria (69%). The margin of error is three points in this case.
In other words, this movement is taken for granted, even if the cannons of toucans and pedetistas turn against Lula, due to the left’s aversion to Bolsonaro.
The rejection scenarios measured by Datafolha confirm the tendency of voters from Ciro, Doria and Leite to have greater aversion to Bolsonaro than to Lula. Again, however, the toucan electorate appears as slightly more inclined to give a vote to the current president than to the PT.
While the index of those who would not vote at all for Bolsonaro reaches 79% among Ciro’s supporters, it drops to 74% among Doria’s supporters and to 68% among Leite’s supporters. About Lula, the percentages are, respectively, 53%, 60% and 52%.
In the overall survey, 59% said they would not choose Bolsonaro at all and 38% said they would not press Lula’s number. Ciro has 30% rejection, 37% Doria and 18% Milk.