Brazilian far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro has a commanding first-round lead, according to a new poll, but he is still short of votes to win the election outright this weekend and avoid a run-off vote.
The Datafolha poll found Bolsonaro had 35 per cent support, a three percentage point jump since Tuesday.
His nearest rival, Fernando Haddad of the leftist Workers Party, stood at 22 per cent. The pair remain deadlocked in a possible run-off vote.
The poll showed Bolsonaro has 39 per cent of the valid votes, 11 points short of a majority needed for a first-round victory. Failing that, the two top vote-getters will face off on October 28.
Brazil's most divisive election in decades will officially come to a close with a televised debate Thursday night. The first-round vote takes place on Sunday.
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 Thursday night's debate.
Nonetheless, support for Bolsonaro has surged in recent days and some observers say 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, he would put the army to work to help finish some stalled infrastructure projects in the region, and said his presidency would invite partners from all parties, including the PT.
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 Adolph Hitler.
Australian Associated Press