Brazilian far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who is in intensive care after being stabbed at a rally last week, is leading the race in the country’s most polarised and unpredictable election in recent history.
According to an opinion poll published on Friday by Datafolha, a subsidiary of Brazil’s largest media conglomerate, the 63-year-old leader had the support of 26 percent of those surveyed, up two percentage points since the same poll conducted last week.
Bolsonaro was stabbed in the abdomen on September 6 while he was campaigning in the southeast Brazil’s city of Juiz da Fora.
He has remained confined to Saulo Paulo’s Alberi Einstein Hospital since the incident, with his son Flavio saying he is unlikely to return to the campaign trail before the first round of voting on October 7.
A medical bulletin released on Saturday by the hospital said he was recovering “without any pain”, displayed no signs of infection and may undergo physiotherapy soon.
What the survey says
The latest Datafolha opinion poll was also the first since former Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad became the Workers’ Party (PT) presidential candidate following an electoral court ban on former president Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva over a corruption conviction.
PT is now hoping to transfer Lula’s massive appeal to Haddad, who is a relatively unknown candidate. According to the poll, he has the backing of 13 percent of voters, a strong gain of four percentage points since last week.
A runoff vote will be held on October 28 if no candidate secures a majority in the first round.
The Datafolha survey also showed that Bolsonaro, who has spent nearly three decades in Congress, and Haddad would be technically tied in a simulated second-round vote.
Bolsonaro would lose to all other major candidates in a runoff, the survey found, adding that his polarising politics means he has the highest rejection rate – 44 percent – of all contenders.
A former army captain, Bolsonaro has enraged many Brazilians with comments denigrating women and gays as well as black and indigenous people.
Haddad’s rejection rate is 26 percent, up four percentage points.
Support for centre-left candidate Ciro Gomes, a former governor of Ceara state in Brazil’s poor northeast, stayed even at 13 percent.
Pro-reforms candidate Geraldo Alckmin saw his campaign continue to stagnate, with the opinion poll indicating support of nine percent. Environmentalist Marina Silva fell three percentage points to eight percent.