Brazil poll excluding Lula shows far-right candidate holding lead

Presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) speaks next to candidate Marina Silva of the Brazilian Sustainability Network Party (REDE) during a television debate at the Rede TV studio in Osasco, Brazil August 17, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro holds a solid lead in the race for October’s presidential election in a new survey on Monday by pollster Ibope, when excluding jailed leftist candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Bolsonaro has 20 percent of voter support, followed by environmentalist Marina Silva with 12 percent, center-leftist Ciro Gomes with 9 percent and business-friendly Geraldo Alckmin with 7 percent. Lula’s running mate Fernando Haddad, who will head the Workers Party ticket if Lula is barred from running by a corruption conviction as expected, trails with 4 percent.

When Lula was included in the questionnaire, 37 percent of voters said they backed him, the same percentage he got in an earlier survey on Monday by pollster MDA that showed the former leftist president extending his lead by 5 percentage points despite being in jail on a corruption conviction.

The Brazilian real fell to its weakest in two years against the dollar after the polls showed Lula’s strong support and investors’ favorite Alckmin trailing in the field of main candidates.

In the previous Ibope poll in June, voter support for Lula stood at 33 percent, Bolsonaro had 15 percent, Marina Silva had 7 percent and Gomes was tied with Alckmin at 4 percent.

Monday’s Ibope poll of 2,002 voters was conducted from Aug. 17-19 and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Richard Chang and James Dalgleish