September 16, 2019 / 1:57 PM / a month ago

Portugal Socialists' hefty lead narrows in new poll for Oct.6 election

LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal’s ruling Socialists lost some ground in an opinion poll released on Monday, cutting short their months-long surge three weeks before a parliamentary election, but maintained a strong lead over the opposition.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s center-left party fell to 39.2% in the survey by pollsters Pitagorica for TSF radio, down from 43.6% in the same poll released at the end of last month.

The main opposition Social Democrats rose to 23.3% from 20.4%.

If the Socialists fail to win full majority they would need the support of another party to pass legislation. Costa’s allies in the current legislature, Left Bloc and the Communists, stood at 10% and 7.7% respectively in the Pitagorica survey.

Just one ally is now likely to be needed to secure a majority, and analysts say souring relationships with the hard-left could prompt Costa to find a new partner in the People-Animals-Nature party (PAN). Pitagorica put PAN on 3.2%, less than some other recent polls.

Pitagorica surveyed 605 people on Sept. 9-12, with a margin of error of 4.07%.

Reporting by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Catherine Evans

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