LISBON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Portugal's main opposition party,
the centre-right Social Democrats (PSD) secured a marginal lead
over the ruling Socialist party after surging in the polls just
days before a snap election, a survey published on Tuesday
The opinion poll carried out by Aximage showed a huge jump
in support for the Social Democrats (PSD), led by moderate
economist Rui Rio, to 34.4% from 28.5% a week ago.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa's centre-left Socialists on the
other hand suffered a big decline, with 33.8% share of the vote
compared to 38.5% earlier, confirming loss of ground shown also
in other polls.
The PSD has been gaining ground since emerging from a long
period of internal turmoil in November, when it reelected Rio as
its leader, and running a strong campaign.
Their growing chances, and the Socialists' wear and tear
from managing the COVID-19 pandemic, may have swayed many
undecided voters lately, analysts say, although the election
remains wide open.
Still, both parties polled well shy of a working majority,
which means they will have to negotiate post-election alliances.
Costa has said he would leave his party leadership if he
loses the election.
In October, Costa's two former allies - the Communists and
Left Bloc - sided with right-wing parties to reject the minority
government's budget bill, triggering the snap election.
The Left Bloc and the Communists polled at 6.6% and 4.5%
respectively in the Aximage survey.
The far-right party Chega would become the third-largest
force in parliament, polling at 8%.
The poll put the share of voting intentions for the Liberal
Initiative party at 2.8%, while the right-wing CDS-PP could win
Aximage's poll gave the People-Animals-Nature (PAN) party
3.3% support and the eco-Socialist Livre 1.4%.
Political analysts say the election alone might not solve
the potential impasse as no party or workable alliance is likely
to achieve a stable majority, potentially undermining the
country's ability to spur growth using European pandemic
The Aximage poll, which was conducted for newspapers Jornal
de Noticias, Diario de Noticias and TSF radio, surveyed 965
people on Jan. 16-21.
(By Sergio Goncalves, Editing by Andrei Khalip and Raissa