LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal’s ruling Socialists have extended their lead slightly as the favourite to win the country’s national election in October, an opinion poll showed on Friday.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s centre-left Socialists were seen taking 37.5% of the vote, according to the survey by Aximage for newspapers Jornal de Negocios and Correio da Manha, up two percentage points from a previous poll in June.
The Socialists would still fall short of the around 42% of the vote needed to garner a majority in the Portuguese parliament, but with around 38% they would only need the support of one other party to form a government.
The main opposition, the Social Democrats, were seen taking 23.6% of the vote, slightly up from 23.1% the previous month, while the conservative CDS-PP saw support drop to 4.9% from 6.6% last month.
Costa won the parliamentary support of two far-left parties, the Left Bloc and the Communists, when the Socialists came to power in 2015. These parties saw support stand at 9.4% and 6.8% respectively in the Aximage’s poll.
As the Socialists would probably need to again seek either a similar alliance or a coalition partner to govern, a potential new kingmaker has emerged as the People-Animals-Nature party (PAN). It recently won a seat in the European Parliament and, according to the poll, could grab 4% of the votes in October.
The pollsters surveyed 601 people between July 12 and 15, with a margin of error of 4%.
(Reporting by Catarina Demony and Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Susan Fenton)