Polls back Cavaco Silva

news: Polls back Cavaco Silva

THE LATEST polls indicate Cavaco Silva is close to outright victory in the first round of forthcoming presidential elections.

A poll for Portuguese daily Diário de Notícias, which monitors monthly fluctuations in support, shows the former Social Democratic (PSD) Prime Minister just 1.2 per cent short of an absolute majority in the first round. The findings show that Socialist (PS) candidate Manuel Alegre, who has still not formally announced his candidacy, has risen from 10.9 to 13.8 per cent. He has now overtaken former President Mário Soares, who has fallen from 14.5 per cent to 10.3 per cent.

The poll spells grim reading for Soares, who is making a third run for Belém at the age of 81. Even though Soares is the official Socialist candidate, the poll shows that Alegre would do better in a second round runoff against Cavaco Silva. The poll indicated that 48.8 per cent of respondents favoured Cavaco Silva.

A potential candidature from right-wing candidate Paulo Portas (former head of the Popular Party) – a bid that remains merely the subject of media speculation – would garner only a modest 1.7 per cent of the vote according to the findings, insufficient to unbalance Cavaco Silva’s campaign significantly.

The poll shows Cavaco Silva winning among all categories of voters, irrespective of gender, age, religion and social class. Even among declared Socialist Party supporters, he received 23.6 per cent of the vote, only just below Alegre (24.1 per cent) and Soares (32.3 per cent).

The poll confirms that, even though there are still more than two months to go before the elections (scheduled for January 15 or January 22), Cavaco Silva is now the runaway favourite.