It is pretty much neck-and-neck when it comes to voters' preferences for Pedro Nuno Santos (left) and Luís Montenegro (right) - but neither can claim good polling results

Majority of voters wouldn’t lend money to either candidate running for PM

Latest poll shows voters lukewarm over choice in looming elections

“The majority of people would not lend money to Pedro Nuno or Montenegro”. This is one of the banner headlines in tabloid Correio da Manhã this morning, sending readers to the results of yet another pre-election poll – this one showing how voters ‘feel’ about the two men battling to lead the country.

The simple answer is the majority of people do not trust either of them.

They would balk at lending them money; buying a second hand car from them – and very few would even like to have dinner with them!

These may sound like spurious scenarios (and they are) – but they were clearly designed to show where the two candidates, Pedro Nuno Santos (PS) and Luís Montenegro (PSD), ‘stand’ in people’s perceptions.

The results also point to a very negative view of the country’s institutions – even of President Marcelo himself whose popularity has been dented by the ‘favoritism controversy’ surrounding the multi-million treatment on the struggling national health service of seriously ill twins from a well-connected family in Brazil.

But, back to this poll, conducted by Intercampus: “more than half the people questioned considered they would not ask either candidate for financial advice (…) 60% would not buy a secondhand car from either of them, and 64% would not lend Pedro Nuno Santos or Luís Montenegro money”, says the paper, adding that “if the secretary general of the PS party was desperate for the financial help of people questioned, only 7.9% admitted they would help Pedro Nuno Santos…

All is not lost for Pedro Nuno Santos, however. He is seen as “more charismatic and stronger” than his adversary, who is seen as “more hardworking, and responsible, and even more honest” than Pedro Nuno.

And Pedro Nuno Santos IS the candidate most people would choose to have dinner with, albeit only 13.1% of those questioned were interested in that dinner, against 12.1% who agreed they would be happy to dine with Luís Montenegro.

All in all, both men may look at this poll and consider improvements to the overall projection of their image.

Quizzed as to who people think would make a better prime minister, 28.2% plumped for Pedro Nuno; 24.1% for Montenegro. In other words, no one is bowled over at the prospect of either man running the country.

Almost 23% of those questioned believed Luís Montenegro is honest. Just 17.2% perceive Pedro Nuno Santos as honest.

The elections are still some time away (March 10).

Nonetheless, Intercampus’ director-general António Salvador refers to the “elevated” number of ‘undecided voters’ in this latest survey (around 40%). The situation can change before the elections, but it is still not a promising start.

Salvador also refers to the negative views that people displayed for “institutions” and “sovereign bodies” all of which obtained negative evaluations “even the President of the Republic” – and stresses the emphatic nature of people’s responses.

“The most frequent answer” to most of the questions (‘which man would make a good prime minister? Which of the two is most honest? Which is the most hard working and responsible?) was “neither of them” , he writes – again, not a promising start to an election campaign.

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