Green Party presidential candidate Antanas Mockus responded to the news that he has overtaken Partido de la U’s Juan Manuel Santos in the latest voter poll, by attributing his increasing popularity to independent internet activists.
“It is something surprising, we thank the people, independent activists on the internet, who have talked with their families and neighbors. It is similiar to a social movement,” Mockus said in reaction to the news that he now leads the race for Colombia’s May presidential election.
Mockus added that he has the least support from the lower stratas of Colombian society, who have less access to internet technology, but said he would like to have these stratas’ support because he hopes to end the unequal treatment of Colombia’s lower classes.
In the latest poll, held by broadcaster RCN and Semana, Mockus popularity rose from 34% in the previous poll held by CM&, to 38%. In comparison Santos’ popularity dropped from 35% in the CM& poll to 29% in the latest poll.
Santos reacted to the news that Mockus had overtaken him in the voter poll by saying “I always feel as though I come last in the polls, and for that reason I continue working hard, looking towards May 30.”
Polo Democratico candidate Gustavo Petro, whose popularity in the latest poll remained at 5%, thinks the poll indicates that Uribe supporters are on the way out, commenting “It shows that Mockus is starting to suck away votes from the uribistas.”
Francisco Gutierrez, a professor at Colombia’s Universidad Nacional, said that the latest poll results show that Mockus has become an “election phenomenon” who poses a serious threat to the other candidates, because they don’t know how to address the phenomenon.
Gutierrez added that Mockus’ rise in popularity can be attributed to his alliance with two former Bogota mayors along with former Medellin mayor and vice presidential candidate Sergio Fajardo. The professor also said that the fact that Mockus is neither pro nor anti uribista works in his favor, as does that he has had experience in office.
The increasing popularity of Mockus has surprised analysts and political opponents, who so far have seemed unable to stop the “green wave,” despite attacks on Mockus’ proposed security policies.
The first round of Colombia’s presidential elections will be held on May 30. If none of the candidates wins more than 50% of the vote, the two most popular candidates will face off in a second round election.