One month was enough for the socialists to recover from the small punishment that resulted from the uncontrolled pandemic in January and February. The shock overcame and the memory of the days when world records of new cases and deaths were shattered, with the country suspecting (one more step will be accomplished this Monday), PS is reborn at the beginning of spring and gains a loose lead, barely tenths of the best result in this series of barometers (40.4% in July last year). If there were elections today, it would be three points above the 2019 legislatures.
PS is worth more than the Right
One of the effects of this rise in the PS (2.1 points more than in February), combined with the decrease in the PSD (minus 2.9 points) is that an unprecedented gap of about 16 points opens between the two largest parties – twice the distance that separated them in the last elections.
Another consequence of these ups and downs is that the Socialists are worth more than the sum of the four parties on the Right – they are now 38%. But this is a virtual Right with a substantially different balance of forces than that represented in Parliament.
It is important to note, however, that the survey does not measure the possible effects of the conflict over social support (which a “negative coalition” has approved in Parliament, which the President has enacted, and which the Socialist Government will contest in the Constitutional Court), a field work took place before the storm broke out (March 24-27).
New Right gains strength
The debacle of the PSD in March (the month in which Rui Rio unfolded in announcements of autarchic candidates) causes the classic Right to add a meager 24%, eight points from the 2019 elections. This is because the CDS, despite winning some tenths, remains on the threshold of survival.
On the contrary, the new Right continues to show signs of strength, even though it is an unfinished process, as demonstrated by the successive ups and downs that the two parties are going through. This time, it is Chega that gains momentum (two more points), being just a tenth of the third place of the blockers, while the Liberal Initiative wastes about one point, after the huge jump of February.
The balance of forces is adjusting, but the truth is that both radicals and liberals show signs of resilience and gradual growth. Chega is the party that wins the most at this point, when compared to October 2019 (it has seven more points), but the Liberal Initiative also rises three and a half points. And together they now add up to about 13% (ten points more than in the legislative ones).
Left is up
The contraption will be dead and buried – as was perceived by the acrimony in the negotiation of the last State Budget, or when we see “negative coalitions” that bring the former parliamentary partners of the socialists together with the right-wing group – but the Left as a whole is well and it is recommended: it is now worth more than 54%, two points above the last legislative ones (and 16 points more than the Right). It is true that the preponderance of the PS is greater, but blockists and communists show some capacity for recovery.
The Bloco de Esquerda, from the outset, which is already going up in the second month, after another three falling, precisely those that were dominated by budgetary issues. In March he holds the third place by a black nail (Chega is one tenth), but he is only one point away from the electoral value of 2019. At the CDU, stability has been evident, albeit always below its value at the ballot box. This month, however, reaches six%, that is, almost the same result that obtained in the legislatures.
The other possible socialist partner is the PAN. In the month when its leader, André Silva, announced the withdrawal of the policy, it dropped by almost one point and therefore returned to the starting place, that is, to the result of the last elections (but quite far from the 6.5% that marked on the November barometer last year). As for Livre, it falls again below the threshold of the percentage point.
Radicals and liberals to conquer Parliament
At a time when there is so much speculation about the survival of António Costa’s minority government (including Marcelo’s notices this week), there are two parties to the Right that would not rule out the possibility of early legislative: Chega and Liberal Initiative reveal, since the start of the Aximage barometers for DN, JN and TSF, an upward trajectory and promise a significant change in the distribution of forces on the Right.
When analyzing the different regional segments (which do not correspond to constituencies) it is possible to see that the time of the single deputy would be behind, in both cases, if we had elections today. In the case of the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (which includes part of the Lisbon and Setúbal circles), the 9.5% of radicals led by André Ventura could mean at least four to five deputies. For the liberals of João Cotrim de Figueiredo, the result in the capital region would be around 6.1% and perhaps three to four deputies in both circles.
Arrives weak in Porto
Taking into account the results in the Metropolitan Area of Porto and in the North region, it is possible to see that in the circles of Porto and Braga, Cotrim and Ventura could aspire to two or three more deputies.
Chega reveals more difficulties (2.6%) than the Liberal Initiative (7.1%) in the Invicta region (as has been the norm in almost all barometers), but it is stronger in the rest of the North region (10, 1% for radicals; 5.5% for liberals).
In addition, Ventura’s party is better established in the rest of the country, particularly in the Center (11.1%), which, being insufficient to obtain deputies in circles such as Viseu, Guarda, Castelo Branco or Coimbra, is encouraging in the case from Aveiro, Leiria or Santarém circles, where he could elect at least one deputy per circle.
Coast Popularity: As already mentioned in the last few days, António Costa’s popularity is breaking records this time. It remains the most popular party leader (60% positive reviews) and the only one with a positive balance (more positive than negative reviews).
Ventura’s Unpopularity: The leader of Chega is the one that provokes, as always, the greatest rejection on the part of the Portuguese – 62% give it a negative score (seven points less than in February). The radical Right wing also improves in positive evaluations, but remains at 18%.
Catarina and Rio rising: In a generous month for the majority of party leaders, Catarina Martins and Rui Rio are, after Costa and Ventura, those who recover more land. But the PSD president is the closest to reaching positive ground (he has a negative balance of only one point).
The survey was carried out by Aximage for DN, JN and TSF, with the objective of evaluating the opinion of the Portuguese on topics related to the current political situation.
The fieldwork took place between the 24th and 27th of March 2021 and 830 interviews were collected among over 18 years old residents in Portugal.
A sample was made by quota, with sex, age and region, from the known universe, rebalanced by sex, age, education and region. The sample of 830 interviews corresponds to a 95% confidence level with a margin of error of 3.4%.
The responsibility of the study is Aximage Comunicação e Imagem, Lda., Under the technical direction of José Almeida Ribeiro.
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