It is an unprecedented scenario in the last two years: the set of parties on the right is already worth more than the sum of the left, according to the latest Aximage poll for DN, JN and TSF. More than the growth of the PSD (30.9%), it is the wear and tear of the PS (34.5%) that contributes to this virtual scenario, with the two main parties separated by less than four points. Chega remains isolated in third place (8.9%) and Iniciativa Liberal in fourth (6.7%), with BE (3.8%) and CDU (3.2%) already distant. PAN (3%), Free (2.1%) and CDS (1.9%) follow.
Eight months after winning the legislative elections with an absolute majority, the Socialists lost a little more than one percentage point compared to July, and seven months if the comparison is made with January. Rising cost of living and government measures to deal with it will help to explain erosion. As we revealed last Friday, the solution found, for example, for pensions, especially among the older population, is great. And this disillusionment is evident in the voting intentions: the PS is still ahead of the PSD in respondents aged 65 and over, but the difference has gone from nine to just three points.
Thus, not only would António Costa not be able to renew his absolute majority now, but his margin to form a majority would disappear. A hypothetical contraption with the entire parliamentary left would be worth around 44 percentage points at this point (far from the 51 it totaled in January), three less than the three parties most to the right, which are now worth around 47 points (41 in the last Legislative). If the PAN were added to the left and the CDS to the right, the latter would continue to have an advantage (two points). It is no minor feat: it has never happened throughout this barometer series, that is, since July 2020.
When comparing the current results with the previous barometer (July), there are two more parties down, but at very different levels. Despite losing 1.3 points, Chega manage to keep third place and are almost two points above their January result. And it shows strength in the northern, central and southern regions of the country. The scenario is darker for BE: it loses almost two points (one compared to the Legislative) and is only a tenth above the CDU and PAN, achieving its best result in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area.
Liberals on the Rise
On the rise, and in addition to Luís Montenegro’s PSD, is the Liberal Initiative, especially when compared to the last electoral act (it wins almost two points). And the trend towards greater deployment in large cities is confirmed: the liberals would be the third largest party in Porto and Lisbon.
Still with regard to the geographical distribution and specifically the struggle between the two largest parties, this barometer shows that the Social Democrats joined the Central Region to the North, which they already held (although here the victory is now by a scarce tenth). Socialists stand out in metropolitan areas. It was already like that in Lisbon, but now they have solid leadership in Porto.
Liberal leader is the only one above the waterline
Liberal João Cotrim de Figueiredo is the only survivor of the wave of negative evaluations of party leaders. He is in first place, with a positive balance of six points. António Costa sinks, like his government and his party, while Luís Montenegro remains a point below the waterline, without causing irritation, but also without enthusiasm. But as far as rejection is concerned, since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine no one has beaten the communist Jerónimo de Sousa.
The PCP secretary-general even improves slightly compared to the July barometer, but has a negative balance of 44 points. Even among those who vote for the CDU, about a quarter give it a negative rating. His teammate at the bottom of the table, André Ventura (negative balance of 31 points), does not have the same problem: the percentage of Chega voters who give him a negative note is residual.
When analyzing the different segments into which the sample is divided, it is clear that the communist reaches the maximum rejection in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, while the right-wing radical descends to the bottom in Porto. And that both are criticized, in particular, by older voters (in all the cases mentioned, they are above 60% of negative evaluations).
championship of indifference
Analyzing the results of the only leader with a positive balance, João Cotrim de Figueiredo, it is clear that this is also due, to a large extent, to the relative indifference with which he is evaluated: 56% of those questioned either evaluate him as “so-so” or not at all. doesn’t even give an opinion. But the liberal isn’t even the worst in the indifference championship. The leader is Rui Tavares (64%), from Livre, followed by Nuno Melo (61%), from CDS, and Inês Sousa Real (57%), from PAN.
Luís Montenegro suffers from a similar problem, as 54% have neither a good nor a bad opinion of the Social Democrat. When the responses of the different age groups are analyzed, it can be seen that the best result of the PSD leader is among those aged 65 or over (both in the percentage of positive evaluations and in the positive balance of nine points). The socialist rival, who has always been the great champion of the elderly, suffers a setback: António Costa’s balance among pensioners is 14 negative points and these are also the ones who give him the most negative evaluations (46%).
If the angle changes to geography, Luís Montenegro achieves a positive balance in the northern and central regions, and the worst results in the metropolitan areas of Porto and Lisbon (negative balances of ten points). But António Costa doesn’t laugh, not even in big cities, because this is also where he has his worst results (negative balances of 17 points).
The poll was carried out by Aximage for the DN, TSF and JN, with the aim of evaluating the opinion of the Portuguese on topics related to current political affairs. The fieldwork took place between the 21st and 24th of September 2022 and 810 interviews were collected among people over 18 years old residing in Portugal. A quota sampling was carried out, obtained through a matrix crossing sex, age and region (NUTSII), from the known universe, rebalanced by gender, age group and schooling. For a probability sample of 810 interviews, the maximum standard deviation of a proportion is 0.017 (ie, a “margin of error” – at 95% – of 3.44%). Study responsibility: Aximage Comunicação e Imagem, Lda., under the technical direction of Ana Carla Basílio.