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October general election – Socialists increase lead in the polls

antoniocostaPortugal’s ruling Socialist party has extended its lead, according to an opinion poll released three months before the general election.

This places António Costa’s party on track to winning the majority he so keenly wants.

The ICS/ISCTE survey for Expresso weekly and SIC TV put the centre-left Socialists at 38% of voting intentions, up 1% from a survey in March.

The Social Democrats were on a disappointing 23%, down two points, and the conservative CDS-PP were on 5%, down 3 points

The Socialists’ policy of fiscal discipline plus economic growth has cheered both Brussels and the key ratings agencies so even if Costa fails to get a majority this Autumn, he will be in for an easy ride from Portugal’s creditors.

Portugal’s growth is expected to outpace the euro zone’s average, and in 2020,  the government expects to post the country’s first budget surplus for at least 45.

Andrei Khalip from Reuters commented that in the current legislature, the Socialists had to rely on the backing in parliament from two far-left parties, the Left Bloc and the Communists, the former being more prone to compromise than the latter.

With the Bloc rising to 11% of voting inventions, their support alone, be it via a deal in parliament or a coalition, would be enough for the Socialists to have a majority in the house, even considering the poll’s margin of error of 3.5%.

The threshold for a parliament majority can vary but usually 42% of the vote would be sufficient.

The Communist party was not far behind on 8%, meaning it could also become the Socialists’ single, if less likely, ally.

Another potential kingmaker is the People-Animals-Nature party (PAN), which has recently won a seat in the European Parliament after garnering 5% of the vote in May on a wave of concern about climate change and the environment.

The opinion poll put PAN at 4% of voting intentions for the Oct. 6 election.

The pollsters surveyed 801 people between 15 and 27 of June.