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Mexico Leftist Holds Double-Digit Lead in Presidential Race

Leftist front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, presidential pre-candidate of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), addresses supporters during an event to present new campaign officials in Mexico City, Mexico, Feb. 1, 2018.

Mexican leftist presidential hopeful Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador maintains a double-digit lead ahead of elections in July although his rivals have closed the gap slightly, according to a newspaper poll published on Tuesday.

Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor who has already run twice for the presidency, leads the pack with 38 percent, up 3 percentage points since November, according to the survey in business newspaper El Financiero.

Support for Ricardo Anaya, the former chairman of the conservative National Action Party (PAN) now leading a right-left coalition, grew 7 points to 27 percent. Former finance minister Jose Antonio Meade of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has 22 percent, up 2 points.

While Meade remains in third place, his public recognition is improving, rising to 83 percent at present from 43 percent in November, the poll found.

His campaign has been dogged by a backlash against the PRI, which has faced a series of corruption scandals.

If Meade fails to gain traction, the election could turn into a head-to-head contest between Lopez Obrador and Anaya.

While Lopez Obrador has been a polarizing figure in Mexican politics, the poll found he was the only candidate who has more positive ratings than negative ratings.

Pollster Alejandro Moreno carried out the survey for El Financiero between Jan. 27 and Jan. 31, conducting 1,002 face-to-face interviews. The poll has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.