Lula's lead narrows to single-digit in Brazil race -poll

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's former president and presidential frontrunner Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gestures during a campaign event in Sao Paulo, Brazil, August 5, 2022. REUTERS/Suamy Beydoun

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's lead over incumbent Jair Bolsonaro has narrowed to 7 percentage points ahead of the October election, according to a new poll published on Monday.

The leftist leader has the support of 41% of voters against 34% for his far-right adversary, compared to 44% and 31% respectively last month, the BTG/FSB telephone poll said.

Lula's lead has dropped steadily to 7 points from 13 last month and 14 in May, the poll said.

Other polls show Lula's strong lead slipping but maintaining a double-digit advantage: Datafolha saw his advantage at 18-points and a Genial/Quaest poll last week said his lead had fallen to 12 points from 14 points.

Lula would still win a second-round runoff against Bolsonaro by 51% to 39% if the vote were today, a 12-point lead that has narrowed from 18 points last month, the BTG/FSB poll said.

Bolsonaro has stepped up social welfare spending, with pay-out of increased monthly stipends to low-income families starting on Tuesday, and he has worked to reduce fuel costs that have spurred inflation, the major complaint from voters.

His negative numbers have come down, with 44% of those surveyed seeing his government as bad or terrible, down from 50% in early June, while 53% say they would never vote for him, compared to 59% in June, the new poll said. Lula's rejection rate has risen marginally to 45% of voters, it said.

The survey by pollster FSB commissioned by investment bank BTG Pactual polled 2,000 people between Aug. 5 and 7 and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points up or down.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Steven Grattan and Bernadette Baum)

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