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Poll Suggests Argentine October Presidential Vote a Toss-up

FILE - Ruling party presidential candidate Daniel Scioli holds an Argentine flag as he acknowledges supporters after primary elections in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Aug. 10, 2015.

Argentine presidential election front-runner Daniel Scioli is short the support he would need to clinch an outright victory in elections next month, according to a poll published on Friday.

Scioli, the candidate of President Cristina Fernandez's Front for Victory party, was drawing 38.3 percent support among those who have decided their vote, according to a Ceop poll released in newspaper Pagina 12.

In early September, he had 39 percent backing.

Second round possible

If no candidate wins 45 percent of or gets 40 percent with a 10 point margin in the October 25 election, voting would go to a second round on November 22.

Second in the poll was candidate Mauricio Macri, who captured 26.9 percent, down from 29.3 percent in Ceop's previous poll at the start of the month.

Counting projected shares of undecided votes, Scioli clinched 41.6 percent to Macri's 29.2 percent, Ceop said. Such a margin of victory would give Scioli the presidency in the October election.

The margin of error in the Ceop survey, which polled 3,048 voters, was 1.78 percent.

Economics center stage

At stake in the election is the pace of policy change after eight years of heavy intervention in economy under Fernandez, who is barred from running for a third consecutive term.

Scioli promises to gradually change policies that have weighed on the economy while leaving in place the strong social safety net built by Fernandez. Macri vows to lift trade and currency controls for a quicker transition toward open markets.

Argentina is a major food exporter. Farmers on the country's vast Pampas grains belt and their customers worldwide are watching the campaign for signs that the next president might lower corn and wheat export limits imposed by Fernandez and reduce the 35-percent export tax she has placed on soybeans.

Running third in the presidential race is Congressman Sergio Massa, who got 18.6 percent of decided overs in the Ceop survey, or 20.2 counting his likely share of undecided votes. Earlier this month, a Ceop poll had Massa at 15.6 percent and 17.5 percent respectively.