A poll released Thursday placed Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos ahead in the country’s upcoming presidential elections but short of the required majority to avoid a runoff vote.
The figures placed Santos as the lead candidate with 31% of the vote if the elections were to take place tomorrow instead of May 25, still short of the 50% needed to win outright signaling the possibility for a second round of voting in June, stated the “Polimétrica” poll conducted by Caracol Radio with the help of the Cifras & Conceptos research firm.
Santos’ new numbers have leapfrogged the controversial “blank vote” (vote en blanco) — a protest vote in support of no candidate — that registered a fall from 30% to 27%, and is expected to fall as the election date nears.
Pre-candidate for the Green Alliance Enrique Peñalosa (Alianza Verde) has overtaken Oscar Ivan Zuluaga of former President Alvaro Uribe’s Democratic Center party (Centro Democratico) with 9% and 8% of the vote, respectively.
The other candidates remain well behind with Clara Lopez (Democratic Pole — Polo Democratico), Martha Lucia Ramirez (Conservative Party — Partido Conservador) and Aida Avella (Union Patriotica — UP), polling 7%, 4% and 1%, respectively — 12% of people remaining undecided.
When questioned, the poll found that the majority of those surveyed (63%) do not support the re-election of president Santos, with 32% saying they “see the country in a bad state” followed by a dislike to the incumbent president (14%), opposition to the re-election out of principle (10%), and because they do not agree with the current peace process with the FARC rebel group (6%).
The poll surveyed 2,500 eligible voters across 32 municipalities in different socio-economic standings from the 20 February to the 24 February with results presenting a 2.9% margin of error, according to Cifras & Conceptos research.
Since the figures were collected President Santos has announced German Vargas — leader of the Radical Change (Cambio Radical) party — to be his vice-presidential running mate, a move that might yet again increase his numbers as this latest poll ranked Vargas fourth in the country’s “popular personalities with the best image.”