While some polls give governing FMLN party candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren a double-digit lead over his main rival in El Salvador's Feb. 2 presidential election, he seems unlikely to gain the absolute majority needed to avoid a runoff.

Of the last eight voter surveys, published this week, the majority show Sanchez with an advantage of anywhere from 3.7 to 14 percentage points over Norman Quijano, of the main opposition ARENA.

Two other surveys, meanwhile, show the two men in a virtual tie.

Results released Wednesday by the Public Opinion Institute of the Jesuit Central American University, or UCA, show that Sanchez Ceren leads Quijano by 46.8 percent to 32.8 percent.

In third place, with 14.7 percent, is former President Elias Antonio Saca, who was part of the right-wing ARENA party when he governed the country from 2004-2009.

In a potential runoff, the FMLN would have a more difficult time of it given that the majority of votes from the other parties would be absorbed by ARENA, UCA dean Andreu Oliva told Efe.

ARENA, which ruled the country from 1989 until 2009, "would have a greater probability of winning" in a runoff, he said. EFE