Brazilian far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro held a solid lead ahead of the October 7 election following a near-fatal stabbing, but Workers Party (PT) candidate Fernando Haddad emerged in second place, signaling a potential polarized right-left runoff, a poll showed on Monday.
Bolsonaro, who is in the hospital and unable to campaign, has 28.2% of voter support, according to the survey by pollster MDA.
Haddad, who replaced imprisoned former president Lula da Silva on the ticket last week, had 17.6% in his first showing in an MDA poll. Haddad's numbers indicated that Lula, banned from running due to a corruption conviction, was successfully transferring his support to the former Sao Paulo mayor, who is well placed to face off with Bolsonaro in the second round in late October.
Centre-left populist Ciro Gomes had 10.8% of voter intentions and business-friendly candidate Geraldo Alckmin was fourth with 6.1%, while environmentalist Marina Silva trailed with 4.1%.
In a runoff, which would be triggered if no candidate wins half of the valid votes, Bolsonaro would defeat all other candidates except for Gomes, with whom he is statistically tied, MDA said. One in four voters are still undecided or say they will annul or leave their ballot blank in Brazil's most uncertain election in a generation.
Other polls published last week showed Bolsonaro losing a runoff against most other candidates.
The nationwide MDA survey of 2,002 people was carried out for the transportation sector lobby CNT between Sept. 12 and 15 and had a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points, meaning results could vary that much either way.