The Liberals have a 10-point lead over their nearest rivals showing ongoing support for their handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an opinion poll released Friday.
The National Liberal Party, which has a minority government, would poll 33.4% if there were elections next Sunday. That was a slight improvement on their ratings in June, when they had 33% of the vote.
The Social Democrats, Romania’s largest party, improved its score from 21.9% in June to 23.4% in July. A centrist group USR Plus was trailing in third place with 17.2%, the poll by the Institute of Marketing and Opinion Polls (IMAS) said.
The poll indicates general public support for the Liberals’ handling of the health crisis amid challenges from the Social Democrats and their allies who have urged restrictions to be lifted, even as cases have sharply risen.
Romania has reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases every day for the past ten days, pushing the total number of cases to more than 50,000.
The Social Democrats who improved their score, however, have tapped into people’s frustrations with the crisis and a belief by some that the virus doesn’t exist or is exaggerated.
The Pro-Romania party of former Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who used to be chairman of the Social Democratic Party, polled 9.7%, down from its highest ever score of 11% in May.
The Union of Democratic Hungarians in Romania, which has been an ally of the Social Democrats, rose to 5.6%, up from 3.4% in June as their leaders openly sided with the Social Democrats.
The party, which represents the interests of Romania’s 1.4 million Hungarians, is a kingmaker in the Romanian Parliament.
Two other parties which are currently in Parliament, got less than 4%.
It is the second time since the pandemic began that month-on-month support for the Liberals has increased.
The poll was ordered by Europa FM, Romania’s largest private radio station. Some 1,010 people were interviewed form July 10-29.
It has a 3.1% margin of error.