Nicaragua President Ortega holds wide lead in reelection bid: poll

Slideshow ( 2 images )

MANAGUA (Reuters) - Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has maintained his overwhelming lead ahead of November’s presidential race as he seeks re-election, a new poll showed on Monday.

The poll, conducted by M&R Consultants, showed that 65.7 percent of those surveyed planned to vote for Ortega and his leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) party, compared with just 4.7 for right-wing opposition candidate Maximino Rodriguez.

Pedro Reyes, a candidate from the Independent Liberal Party (PLI), had 2.2 percent of the vote, the poll found, with more than 25 percent declining to respond.

Ortega, a 70-year-old former guerrilla leader, first ruled the country in the 1980s and returned to power in 2007 after a fracture in Nicaragua’s right-wing parties.

After nearly a decade in power, his popularity has remained high due to economic policies and social programs put into place with the support of allies in Venezuela and Cuba.

Ortega’s margin of victory in the Nov. 6 race rose nearly three points from a previous survey by M&R Consultants in late July, which showed him with 62.8 percent of the vote, in comparison to 4.7 percent for Rodriguez and 3.9 percent for Reyes.

The poll of 2,000 people was conducted between Aug.26 and September 3 and had a margin of error of 2.24 percent.

Reporting by Ivan Castro; Writing by Natalie Schachar