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Understand why election polls produce different results

In election years, the distribution of polls on the intention to vote becomes more active. In 2022 alone, the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) had registered 1,562 inquiries till Thursday (28), which is more than seven per day.

The methods used by the institutes are diverse. Surveys can be conducted in person, over the phone, and even over the Internet using a variety of designs and questionnaires.

In the latest Datafolha poll published on Thursday (28), Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (PT) has an 18-point lead over current president Jair Bolsonaro (LL).

In the Genial/Quaest poll released on July 6, the lead is slightly lower at 14 points. Surveys have in common that they were conducted personally.

The difference between the two narrows when surveys are conducted over the phone. In the XP/Ipespe poll, Lula’s lead is nine points. In the TV Record/RealTime Big Data survey, eight points.

But why does this happen? THE: CNN: talked to political scientists to understand the reason for this difference.

Antonio Lavareda, the president of the scientific council of Ipespe, put forward a hypothesis. “Voters, especially poor voters, in places where Lula is largely dominant, are interviewed on streaming networks or at home, surrounded by equally poor voters. Some are hiding or ashamed to vote for Bolsonaro,” he said.

With that in mind CNN: A research aggregator in collaboration with Instituto Locomotiva. It collects the main election polls.

Renato Meireles, president of “Lokomotiva”, explained the initiative. “We looked at the survey methods, whether they were online, telephone or face-to-face surveys, we calculated the margin of error and we were able to give: the actual weight for each request.”

In a polarized scenario between Lula and Bolsonaro, another question is how these polls could increase political instability.

Christopher Garman, executive director of political risk research and consulting company Eurasia Group, analyzed: “Poll results ultimately exacerbate the risk of contested elections.”

On the other hand, political scientist Andrey Roman does not believe that the results can cause confusion. “Political polarization is not a new fact. Brazil has seen an increase in this polarization in recent years, but the institutions have shown to be quite resilient to the challenges we are witnessing.”

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