| 26 September 2022, Monday |

Portugal’s Sunday election wide open as Socialists’ lead narrows

In two opinion surveys issued on Friday, two days before the emergency election on Sunday, Portugal’s ruling Socialists have lost ground to the biggest opposition party, the center-right Social Democrats (PSD).

The race is still wide open. Analysts believe the election would exacerbate political turbulence and result in a short-lived administration because no party or recognized alliance is expected to secure a functioning majority.

Premier Antonio Costa’s center-left party fell to 35% support from 38% a month ago, according to an ISCTE-ICS poll for TV station SIC and daily Expresso, while the PSD increased to 33% from 31%.

The gap between the two is smaller than the poll’s 3.1% margin of error, meaning they are in a technical draw. A different poll earlier this week showed the PSD leading by a narrow margin.

It leaves each of them distant from a parliamentary majority, which under the proportional representation system equates to between 42% and 45% of the vote.

Another survey, by Catolica pollsters for TV channel RTP, Antena 1 radio and Publico newspaper, showed PS at 36%, down from 37% a week ago. The PSD remained steady at 33%.

In October, Costa’s two former allies – the Communists and Left Bloc – sided with right-wing parties to reject the minority government’s budget bill, triggering the snap election.

In the ISCTE-ICS poll, the far-right party Chega, the pro-business Liberal Initiative and the Communist-Greens alliance CDU saw support at 6% each, and any of them could become the third-largest force in parliament.

It gave 5% to Left Bloc, 2% to the People-Animals-Nature (PAN) party, while the right-wing CDS-PP and eco-Socialist Livre were on 1% each.

In the Catolica poll, Liberal Initiative, Chega and Left Bloc would win 6% each and CDU 5%. The CDS-PP, Livre and PAN had 2% each.

ISCTE-ICE surveyed 1,003 people on Jan. 18-24, while Catolica surveyed 2,192 people on Jan. 19-26, with a margin of error of 2.1%.

  • Reuters