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Mexico's Sheinbaum favorite to win presidential nomination, polls show

FILE PHOTO: Former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum holds a rally in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum held a comfortable advantage in the race to be the leftist ruling party's 2024 presidential nominee, according to opinion polls published on Tuesday, the eve of the announcement of the winner.

A telephone survey by newspaper El Financiero, using the same methodology chosen by the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) to select its candidate, put Sheinbaum at 36% support, followed by former Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard at 25%.

The Sept. 1-2 survey polled 500 Mexican adults and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. Sheinbaum's advantage was wider than the seven-point lead she held in an El Financiero poll conducted July 28-29.

A separate face-to-face survey of 800 Mexicans by polling firm Parametria from Aug. 30 to Sept. 3 showed Sheinbaum with 32% support and Ebrard on 21%, a gap one percentage point narrower than a prior survey done through early August.

Six candidates are running in the MORENA race.

The Parametria survey had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage points, and showed Ebrard was the best-known contender in the presidential contest, recognized by 73% of respondents compared to 67% for Sheinbaum.

MORENA will on Wednesday announce who will be its candidate to succeed President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, based on national polling over the past week that gives a 75% weighting to the question of who is the preferred choice.

The remaining 25% is determined by the public's perception of how contenders score on five questions relating to their honesty, proximity to the people, knowledge of the country, whether they keep their word, and how favorably they are viewed.

Sheinbaum was clearly ahead on all of the supplementary questions except for her knowledge of the country, where the experienced Ebrard narrowly beat her, El Financiero said.

Ebrard has raised concerns about the way in which the poll has been conducted, and did so again on Monday evening.

Sheinbaum, a close ally of Lopez Obrador, has been viewed for months as the one to beat. The popular Lopez Obrador cannot seek a second six-year term because Mexican law prohibits it.

Lopez Obrador's approval ratings of around 60% have been crucial for MORENA, and the Parametria poll showed the party and its allies currently have more than double the combined support of the main opposition alliance for the presidential election.

(Reporting by Dave Graham; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Ed Tobin)