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Poll: Incumbent Rousseff widens lead days ahead of Brazil's presidential ballot on Sunday

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RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has pulled ahead of her rival and taken a six-point lead just days before Sunday's presidential vote, according to a poll released Thursday.

A series of recent surveys had indicated that Rousseff, whose left-leaning Workers' Party has governed Brazil the past 12 years, was nosing into the lead in recent days, but Thursday's poll was the first to give her a lead greater than the margin of error.

The survey, by the respected Datafolha agency, said 53 percent of those polled gave support to Rousseff, compared with 47 percent for center-right candidate Aecio Neves. Datafolha surveyed 9,910 people on Wednesday and Thursday, and the margin of error was plus or minus two percentage points.

PHOTO: Aecio Neves, Brazilian Social Democracy Party presidential candidate, greets supporters while campaigning at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014.  Neves will face Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff in a presidential runoff on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Aecio Neves, Brazilian Social Democracy Party presidential candidate, greets supporters while campaigning at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. Neves will face Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff in a presidential runoff on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Both candidates made campaign stops in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's second largest city, on Thursday.

Neves met with Rio Archbishop Dom Orani Tempesta before giving a news conference in the city, and Rousseff was also expected to hold a news conference.

The two are to face off in the campaign's last debate Friday evening on Rio-based broadcaster Globo television in what has been the most unpredictable, hotly contested and hard-to-call presidential election in Brazil in decades.

Both candidates have zig-zagged across the continent-sized nation, covering thousands of kilometers (miles) in recent days in their bid to win over undecided voters, who analysts say may hold the key to the race.

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