RIO DE JANEIRO - Three polls released this week show gains for President Jair Bolsonaro, putting him as favorite to win re-election in 2022 despite his controversial handling of Brazil's raging coronavirus crisis.
The far-right leader, who is himself currently infected with the virus, has downplayed the pandemic even as it has exploded in Brazil, the country with the most infections and deaths from COVID-19 anywhere in the world except the United States.
But this week's polls suggest the man dubbed the "Tropical Trump" is weathering the crisis relatively well.
The latest, published Friday by news magazine Veja, puts the far-right leader comfortably ahead in the first round of the presidential election, with 27.5 to 30.7 percent of the vote, depending on his opponents.
Bolsonaro would easily win the second round against any opponent, even his popular ex-justice minister turned nemesis, Sergio Moro, or leftist former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the poll found.
A poll published Thursday by news site Poder360 meanwhile put Bolsonaro's approval rating at 43 percent, up from 40 percent two weeks ago.
His disapproval rating fell one point, to 46 percent, it found.
Poder360 said the president's approval rating was 52 percent among beneficiaries of the government's monthly coronavirus emergency relief checks of 600 reals ($115), which aim to help poor Brazilians suffering the economic impact of coronavirus stay-at-home measures.
Bolsonaro is a fierce critic of those measures, arguing the economic pain is worse than the virus itself.
Brazil has registered nearly 2.3 million cases of the new coronavirus and more than 84,000 deaths, and the numbers continue rising rapidly.
Another poll, published Monday by brokerage firm XP Investimentos, put Bolsonaro's approval rating at 30 percent, up from 25 percent in May.
It put his disapproval rating at 45 percent, down from 50 percent in May.