Leftist Mexican presidential candidate leads but gap closing: poll

Mexican presidential pre-candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (R) of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) gestures to supporters with a Mexican hat next to Gonzalo Moreno, president of Encuentro Social Party, during the closure of his pre-campaigns in Guadalajara City, Mexico February 11, 2018. REUTERS/Fernando Carranza

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Left-wing Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has an 8-point lead over rivals, a newspaper poll showed on Thursday, even as second-place candidate Ricardo Anaya has narrowed the gap since the previous survey.

Lopez Obrador holds 33 percent of the vote, against 25 percent for Ricardo Anaya of the left-right coalition “For Mexico in Front,” according to the survey by Mexican newspaper Reforma.

In Reforma’s previous poll in November, Anaya held just 19 percent of the vote and the gap between the two frontruners was a larger 12 percentage points.

Ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Jose Antonio Meade, a former finance minister, slipped to 14 percent from 17 percent in the previous poll.

The poll was taken between Feb. 8 and 11 and had a margin of error of 3.8 percent, the paper said. Of 1,200 people interviewed in their homes, 22 percent did not respond.

The results show a similar trend to a poll published by Parametria last week, which also showed Anaya gaining slightly but had Lopez Obrador with a larger lead.

The July 1 election could be the first time that independent candidates make in onto the ballot. Thursday’s poll showed Margarita Zavala, wife of former President Felipe Calderon, halved her share of the vote since the previous survey to just 4 percent.

Reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez and Christine Murray; Editing by Alison Williams and Bernadette Baum