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Poll shows Indonesia's Widodo still leads despite rival's surge

Indonesian presidential favourite Joko Widodo still has a comfortable lead less than two weeks before polling day despite a surge in his rival's popularity, a survey showed Friday.

JAKARTA: Indonesian presidential favourite Joko Widodo still has a comfortable lead less than two weeks before polling day despite a surge in his rival's popularity, a survey showed Friday.

But more than 20 per cent of voters quizzed said they were undecided -- in line with other recent polls that suggest the July 9 election could still go either way.

Widodo, seen as a fresh face in a country still dominated by figures from Suharto's leadership, has seen a lead of some 30 percentage points a few months ago rapidly dwindle in the face of a tough challenge from Prabowo Subianto.

Prabowo, who was a general during the Suharto era and has a checkered human rights record, has run a slick, well-funded campaign and Widodo's team have accused him of repeatedly seeking to smear their candidate.

But a survey from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) on Friday showed Widodo, known by his nickname of Jokowi, is still ahead by nine percentage points, on 43 per cent to Prabowo's 34 per cent.

But 23 per cent of people quizzed for the LIPI poll, conducted between June 5 and 24, said they were undecided.

Other recent polls have also shown Widodo, who won legions of fans during his time as Jakarta governor, with a lead of between four and eight points.

Tobias Basuki, from Jakarta-based think-tank the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said the race could be tight given that Prabowo had closed the gap so quickly.

"The gap is merely a single digit now," he said.

LIPI surveyed around 800 people across Indonesia for the poll.

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