Opposition candidate Macri leads Argentina presidential race: poll

Reuters News
|
Posted: Nov 08, 2015 10:16 AM

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Opposition challenger Mauricio Macri has opened up an eight point lead in Argentina's presidential election race over the leftist ruling party candidate, a poll showed on Sunday, two weeks ahead of the Nov. 22 run-off.

The survey by Management & Fit showed the center-right Macri would win 51.8 percent of voter backing -- including a projected share of undecided votes -- while his rival Daniel Scioli would secure 43.6 percent.

The numbers indicate Macri and his "Let's Change" alliance have kept the momentum after a surprisingly strong performance in the first round that stunned the ruling Front for Victory party and left Scioli scrambling to regain the initiative.

However, more than one in 10 of Argentina's 32 million voters are still undecided on who to back, leaving the presidential race open. Macri's lead narrows to six points with 46.3 percent of support when undecided votes are excluded from the candidates' count.

The outcome of the election will shape how the South American country tackles its economic woes, including high inflation, an over-valued peso currency and a central bank running precariously low on dollars.

The winner will also inherit a festering sovereign debt default.

Macri promises to start dismantling a raft of protectionist currency and trade controls on his first day in office if he wins, to open up Latin America's third biggest economy. Scioli says more gradual reforms are required to lure new investment and that his rival's pro-market proposals will hurt the poor.

Management & Fit polled 2,400 people nationwide between Nov. 1 and 5. The survey has a 2 percent margin of error.

Outgoing President Cristina Fernandez's eight-year rule has been deeply divisive. The fiery nationalist is adored by the poor and working class for expanding social welfare programs but reviled by others for suffocating the economy.

(Reporting by Richard Lough; Editing by Catherine Evans)