Colombian presidential candidate Antanas Mockus admitted Monday that voter polls misled him to believe he could win the presidency in the first round election, and said that winning the second round will be difficult, given Juan Manuel Santos‘ overwhelming victory Sunday.
Mockus said that polls, which predicted a tie between the Green candidate and the “Uribista” in the first round, “got our hopes up, but the raw reality of the votes is what counts. It disconcerted us.”
“If there hadn’t been voter polls, we wouldn’t have created the expectation of winning in the first round, as we did at a certain point, or at least gaining the advantage over [Santos’] Partido de la U in the first round,” Mockus said.
According to the Green candidate, Santos’ platform was better received by rural Colombians and this “rural vote’ is not reflected in the voter polls conducted in the weeks leading up to the elections, because pollsters concentrated on cities.
“I didn’t expect such a comfortable result [for Santos],” Mockus said, but stressed that “five months ago the big goal was simply to get through to the second round.”
Mockus said that his team will study possible alliances with the failed presidential candidates but stressed that he will not make “bureaucratic propositions” to Cambio Radical candidate German Vargas Lleras or Polo Democratico’s Gustavo Petro.
The former Bogota mayor said that overall he was pleased with how his campaign had gone so far, although he acknowledged that in some live television debates he had done better than in others.
“There was a big exploitation by rivals” of small errors that were “blown out of proportion” Mockus said, giving as an example his comment that doctors salaries should not exceed COP1 million a month.
Because no candidate received the majority vote needed to win the first round election outright, the two most popular candidates, Santos and Mockus, will now face-off in a second round election scheduled for June 20.