Centre-left coalition retains lead, opinion poll

Centre-right closes gap, Monti in fourth place

Centre-left coalition retains lead, opinion poll

Rome, January 11 - The centre-left coalition led by the Democratic Party (PD) topped opinion polls on Friday at 34.9% with its centre-right rivals following nearly 10 points behind. The Pd alone was polling 29.8% with additional support provided by coalition allies Left Ecology Freedom of Puglia governor Nichi Vendola (4.4%) and Democratic Centre (0.7%) according to a survey conducted by Trieste-based polling institute SWG on behalf of State broadcaster's left-leaning third channel Rai 3. A coalition of centre-right parties led by ex premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party raked in 25.3% of preferences, with the lion's share of 15.7% going to the dL followed by the regionalist Northern League (6.1%) and the rest to a host of smaller formations. Comedian-cum-politician Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement continued its downwards slide at 15.9% in the wake of criticism over an autocratic leadership style. The centrist coalition headed by technocrat premier Mario Monti - who decided to throw his hat into the ring just a few days ago after repeated denials - was polling 13.8% and new entry Civil Revolution led by former Sicilian anti-Mafia prosecutor Antonio Ingroia had gained ground with 4.5%. SWG President Roberto Weber added that Berlusconi may have gained a couple of points following his feisty Thursday evening appearance on a left-wing talk show on the small terrestrial channel La7, which resulted in record viewing figures. The number of undecided voters or abstentions, while still high at 33.5%, was falling, he said. photo: PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani

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