Almost one third of Colombians would “vote in blank” were presidential elections to be held tomorrow, according to a new Gallup poll of the country.
More people, in fact, indicated they would select the none-of-the-above option than would vote for any individual candidate.
Should current President Juan Manuel Santos announce reelection, as is expected, he would lead all candidates with 27%, according to the poll.
Uribe Centro Democratico candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga would take home 14.9%, unofficial pre-candidate from the Green Alliance Antonio Navarro would finish third with 12% and Clara Lopez (Polo Democratico Alternativo) and Marta Lucia Ramirez (Conservative Party) would command 7.2 and 5% of the vote, respectively.
Intentional votes for Colombia’s 2014 presidential election
The poll, which samples the opinions of 1,200 people in 60 localities throughout the country, was commissioned by a group of national news outlets and carries a 5-7% margin of error.
In more specific hypothetical situations posed to the respondents, Juan Manuel Santos would win by at least 10 points against either Zuluaga or Lopez.
With only seven months to go until presidential elections next May, however, the most prominent takeaway is that more Colombians would rather cast protest votes than select any given candidate.
“Voting in blank” is a form of abstention voting in Colombia used to express disapproval with the available options. And according to the Gallup poll, nearly a third of Colombians currently believe there is no candidate worth voting for — in the one-on-one scenarios posed by the poll, the “blank vote” would still receive more votes than the runner ups.
This even after the announcement of the second of six potential agreements from the Havana peace talks, a development predicted to benefit President Santos’ favorability and approval ratings with voters.
The campaign cycle has yet to begin in earnest in Colombia, so candidates still have several months to argue their case with voters. But early indications are that, given the field, Colombians would prefer to not pick anyone.