SAO BERNARDO DO CAMPO, BRAZIL - MARCH 10: Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil's former president, speaks during a press conference after convictions against him were annulled at the Sindicato dos Metalurgicos do ABC on March 10, 2021 in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil. Minister Edson Fachin, of the Federal Supreme Court, annulled on Monday the criminal convictions against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on the grounds that the city of Curitiba court did not have the authority to try him in court for corruption charges and he must be retried in federal courts in the capital, Brasilia. The decision means Lula regains his political rights and would be eligible to run for office in 2022. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

BRASILIA, Jan 12 (Reuters) – Former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva retains a clear lead for this year’s presidential election in Brazil, where inflation and the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic most worry voters, a poll published on Wednesday showed.

Lula would get 45% of the votes against 23% for the country’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro if the election were held today, according to the Banco Genial/Quaest Pesquisas survey.

Lula would win a run-off second round vote against Bolsonaro by 54% versus 30%, it said. The two men are expected to face off in a polarized election in October, though neither have formally declared they will run.

The Quaest poll showed support for both candidates slipping by 2 percentage points since the previous survey in December, and also for third placed anti-corruption former judge Sergio Moro, who dropped one point to 9% of voter intentions.

As COVID-19 cases rise in Brazil with the spread of variant Omicron, the poll showed that 72% of Brazilians surveyed favor the vaccination of children, which vaccine-skeptic Bolsonaro has opposed.

Bolsonaro’s negative rating numbers remain unchanged at 50% of voters who think his government is bad or terrible, mainly women (55% versus 45% men).

And 73% of those surveyed think Bolsonaro has done a bad job fighting inflation, which hit a six-year high of over 10% in 2021, government data showed on Tuesday. read more

Pollster Quest surveyed 2,000 voters between January 6-9 at their homes in 120 cities. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle Editing by Nick Zieminski