Ultraconservative rides high in polls ahead of Brazil vote

Ultraconservative rides high in polls ahead of Brazil vote”

Brazil's far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro has widened his lead over leftist Fernando Haddad ahead of Sunday's deeply polarized election, and would win a likely second-round run-off later this month, a CNT/MDA poll showed on Saturday.

Bolsonaro, a federal deputy from Rio de Janeiro, was the frontrunner in opinion polls ahead of October 7.

A Thursday survey from pollster Datafolha found Bolsonaro had 35% support, a jump of 3% points since Tuesday.

Bolsonaro said he was 6 million votes short of winning the election on Sunday by a majority.

Bolsonaro's rejection rate remained high in the poll although it decreased one point to 45 percent, as some of his remarks against women and same-sex marriage have generated public criticism and protests.

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"We will accept the result whatever it is - there should be no doubt of that", Bolsonaro said on Friday, in a bid to calm fears he would call for a military coup if he lost.

The former Sao Paulo mayor is the PT candidate after former PT president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was barred from the election by the country's Electoral Court. With 88% of the polls published Bolsonaro has 46% of the votes, against 28% for PT leader Haddad. Lula's hand-picked successor, Fernando Haddad, is now placing second in most polls.

He vows to loosen gun laws so citizens can defend themselves, protect family values and slug it out with powerful drug gangs responsible for a record 64,000 murders in 2017.

The main target of participants in the final and most-watched presidential debate in Brazil has been the absent front-runner, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro. Brazilian markets have rallied on the prospect of Bolsonaro stopping a return to power by the Workers Party, which investors blame for plunging Brazil into its worst recession in 2015-2016.

The signs that Bolsonaro is gaining momentum drove Brazil's stock index up to a near five-month high and its currency to its strongest level in nearly two months on Wednesday. Bolsonaro, who is backed by a group of retired generals, said last week he would only accept victory. If no one gets a majority in the first round, the top two candidates will compete in a runoff.

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