Polls see wide victory for Argentine first lady

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BUENOS AIRES, Oct 21 (Reuters) Argentine first lady and senator Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is set for a resounding victory in the presidential election one week away, according to 10 different polls published today.

The polls almost all show Fernandez with a wide enough margin to win in a first round of voting, which would require her to receive more than 45 per cent of the vote or exceed 40 per cent with a lead of more than 10 percentage points over the second-place finisher.

Fernandez, who is expected to follow the center-left policies of her popular husband, President Nestor Kirchner, will be this South American country's first elected woman president if she wins.

The election is on October 28.

''A second round scenario is, reasonably speaking, very unlikely,'' Fabian Perechodnik, director of Poliarquia polling company, told La Nacion newspaper. ''The election is practically defined, unless something very unusual happens.'' Polls show Fernandez with support of between 39.1 per cent and almost 48 per cent. But she is seen winning a portion of the undecided voters, which would put her over 40 per cent in all cases.

Elisa Carrio, a lawyer and long-time legislator like Fernandez, is in second place with between 15.7 per cent and 18.1 per cent, according to the polls.

Former economy minister Roberto Lavagna is seen in third place with 10.6 per cent to 16.5 per cent, the polls said.

All three candidates are left or center-left.

Support for Fernandez is high in poor and working-class areas, especially those in the huge metropolitan area ringing the capital.

In Buenos Aires proper, which is strongly middle-class, less than 20 percent say they will vote for her, according to the Poliarquia poll.

REUTERS SKB PM1947

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