LISBON: 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 (Jul 19).
Prime Minister Antonio Costa's centre-left Socialists were seen taking 37.5 per cent 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 per cent of the vote needed to garner a majority in the Portuguese parliament, but with around 38 per cent 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 per cent of the vote, slightly up from 23.1 per cent the previous month, while the conservative CDS-PP saw support drop to 4.9 per cent from 6.6 per cent 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 per cent and 6.8 per cent 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 per cent of the votes in October.
The pollsters surveyed 601 people between Jul 12 and 15, with a margin of error of 4per cent.