Santos maintains lead in Colombia presidential race

Colombia president Juan Manuel Santos‘ chances of a second term are growing as a poll confirms a slight increase of the head of state’s popularity at the cost of his electoral competitors.

According to pollster Cifras y Conceptos, if May’s elections were held today, Santos would receive 26% of the votes in the first round. Last month this was 25%.

Second in the poll is the unofficial candidate of the centrist Green Alliance, former Bogota Mayor Enrique Peñalosa who saw his share of intentional votes go from 8% in December to 9% this month.

Chances for Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, the candidate endorsed by former President Alvaro Uribe lost considerable terrain going from 13% of the intentional votes in December to 8% this month.

Socialist candidate Clara Lopez of the Polo Democratico party received 7% of the intentional votes, followed by Aida Avella of the communist Patriotic Union with 1%.

A staggering 30% of the polled voters said they would vote blank.

Intentional votes

Majority against reelection

While Santos came out as the clear winner of the virtual election, the vast majority of Colombians said to oppose a second term of the president. According to Cifras y Conceptos, 63% of the polled voters said to be against Santos’ reelection.

The opposition against Santos’ reelection apparently is weakening though; the president’s general popularity rating went up 7% since December, putting his current approval rating at 50%. The popularity of former President Alvaro Uribe, one of Santos’ most prominent critics dropped 12% to 54%.

MORE: Alvaro Uribe, When Did It All Go Wrong?

Second round options

Also in a possible second round — necessary if none of the candidates receive more than 50% of the votes — Santos leads comfortably but the blank ballot would receive most votes.

In the event Santos faces Zuluaga in the second round, the president would receive 30% of the votes, Zuluaga 11% and 39% would vote blank. The remaining 20% said to not yet have made up their mind.

If the president faces Peñalosa, Santos would receive 28% of the votes against 11% for the Green Alliance candidate. Lopez would also receive 11% in a second round while Santos would walk away with 27%.

The first round of the presidential elections will be held in May. A possible second round is set for July.


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