Mexican leftist leads nearest rival in presidential poll by 11 points

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has a nearly 11 percentage point lead over his closest rival ahead of the July presidential election, a poll published by newspaper El Universal on Monday showed.

Lopez Obrador has capitalized on deep unhappiness with widespread violence and corruption to fashion a commanding lead in the race for the next president, and has been striving to strike a balance between appealing to his leftist base and business leaders, who fear he could destabilize the economy.

The poll found that 42 percent of respondents say they would vote for Lopez Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City who has twice failed in presidential bids. He enjoys a lead of 10.9 percentage points over Ricardo Anaya, who leads a right-left coalition.

Jose Antonio Meade, who is running as the candidate for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, was in third place, with 21.9 percent of respondents saying they would vote for the former cabinet minister.

Independent candidate Margarita Zavala, the wife of former President Felipe Calderon, trailed Meade, with 5 percent of those polled planning to elect her.

The El Universal/Berumen y Asociados poll, based on 1,256 interviews, was conducted April 3-5. It did not provide a margin of error.

Reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez, Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Toby Chopra and Jeffrey Benkoe