0114 GMT February 16, 2019
Surveys suggest the 63-year-old former paratrooper, who wants to cut spiraling debt through sweeping privatizations and embrace the United States and Israel, could count on more than one in three voters in the vast Latin American nation, AFP reported.
But at least as many in the 147-million-strong electorate reject the veteran federal lawmaker.
He is known for repeated offensive comments against women and the poor, and for lauding the military dictatorship Brazil shucked off just three decades ago.
If Bolsonaro gets more than 50 percent of the vote to lead the field of 13 candidates, he will win the presidency outright. Otherwise, a run-off will be held on October 28.
Analysts say a first-round victory for Bolsonaro is possible – but unlikely.
The last surveys released late Saturday credited Bolsonaro with 36 percent against 22 percent for his nearest rival, leftist former Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad.