SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - Brazilian far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro has a commanding
first-round lead, according to a Datafolha poll released Thursday, though he is still short of votes to win the election outright on Sunday and avoid a runoff vote.
The poll found Bolsonaro had 35 percent support, a 3 percentage-point jump since Tuesday. His nearest rival, Fernando Haddad of the leftist Workers' Party, stood at 22 percent. The pair remain deadlocked in a possible runoff vote, Datafolha said. If needed, the runoff would be held Oct. 28.
Bolsonaro has been unable to campaign, aside from postings on social media, since suffering a brutal stabbing during a rally a month ago. On medical advice, he said he would not take part in a debate set for Thursday night.
Nonetheless, support for Bolsonaro has surged in recent days — with some observers saying he could even win the presidency in the first-round ballot, with the left-leaning vote split between Haddad and a clutch of other candidates.
In a last push on Thursday, Bolsonaro told a radio station in northeastern Brazil, where his support is weakest and Haddad's is the strongest, that he would put the army to work to help finish some major infrastructure projects long stalled in the region, and said his presidency would invite partners from
all parties, including the Workers' Party.
"We want to decentralize government revenues and send them to the states, where governors and mayors know best how to apply resources locally," he said.
Haddad's campaign hit hard at Bolsonaro on Thursday, using the last day of TV advertising to compare the former army captain, who has long praised Brazil's 1964-85 dictatorship, to Adolf Hitler. The adverts showed clips of Bolsonaro's more incendiary statements next to footage of the former German leader.