One week before Colombia’s presidential election as the campaigns close, front runners President Juan Manuel Santos and former Minister Oscar Ivan Zuluaga couldn’t be closer to a photo finish than they are now.
|Colombia’s 2014 elections|
Ipsos poll results
In the last Ipsos Napoleon Franco poll before the elections, Zuluaga overtook Santos as the leader in the race, gathering the virtual support of 29.5% of polled Colombians, one percentage point more than his rival.
Other candidates appeared to have lost the opportunity to close the gap with Santos and Zuluaga who have dominated the news over a number of major scandals that marred their campaigns but effectively consolidated their lead over leftist candidate Clara Lopez (10.1%), Conservative Marta Lucia Ramirez (9.7%) and Enrique Peñalosa (9.4%).
According to Ipsos, 12.8% of the polled electorate will cast a blank vote.
Interviews conducted before scandals hit leading campaigns
Like previous polls, the interviews held by Ipsos were conducted before the Santos and Zuluaga campaigns were hit by major campaigns.
According to the pollster, the interviews were carried out between May 13 and May 15.
Santos’ campaign entered an electoral fraud storm after news broke on May 4 that the president’s chief political strategist had allegedly received $12 million from the country’s top drug lords to promote a deal over the drug traffickers’ proposed surrender to authorities and dismantling of drug trafficking routes.
The Zuluaga campaign became the center of an almost equally damning scandal two days after the Rendon scandal when media revealed that Zuluaga’s campaign team had been illegally obtaining military intelligence information regarding ongoing peace talks with rebel group FARC.
The scandals cost the heads of both politicians’ spin doctors and has heated political tensions to a boiling point since.
Second round chances
If none of the candidates is able to obtain a majority vote on May 25, Colombians will take to the polls again on June 15 for a second round run-off between the two leading candidates.
According to the Ipsos poll, a possible Santos-Zuluaga face-off is entirely undecided as both candidates received 32% of the intentional votes. Of the 1,700 interviewed voters, 20% indicated to be voting blank, another 8% said to not have yet decided while 7% said to not take part in a second round.
While Santos is widely considered to be the secure of a place in the second round, his victory in the run-off is far from certain even if he will face candidates performing weaker than Zuluaga in the polls.
If Santos were to meet Peñalosa, tailing in the first round polls, the incumbent president would still win with 31 – 26, five percentage points more with 7% of voters indicating they have not yet made up their mind. A face-off with the socialist Lopez would result in the same numbers, said the pollster.
The president would have an easier second round if faced by Ramirez; According to Ipsos, the president would beat the Conservative Party candidate 32% to 26% with 8% of the voters still undecided.
One third of the interviewed Colombians said to take part in next week’s elections. However, according to Ipsos, these intention indicators are generally flawed. The pollster itself calculated that the elections wil mobilize approximately 47% of registered voters. In 2010, 49% of voters took part in the first election cycle.
- La Última Gran Encuesta de las Elecciones Presidenciales 2014, antes de la primera vuelta (Ipsos Napoleon Franco)