A Gallup poll of voter intention for the Colombian presidential election in May finds that a majority of people plan to vote for conservative-leaning candidates Juan Manuel Santos or Noemi Sanin.
Pollsters asked the question, “If the presidential elections were to be held tomorrow, and the candidates were those that appear on this list, which would you vote for?”
Partido de la U candidate, and former defense minister Juan Manuel Santos led the pack with 34.7% of Colombians planning to vote for him in the first round of elections, followed by Conservative candidate Noemi Sanin, with 23.3%.
Trailing the two leaders in order of percentage of the vote received were Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus (10.4%), Polo Democratico candidate Gustavo Petro (6.4%), Cambio Radical nominee German Vargas (6.2%), independent Sergio Fajardo (6.1%), and Liberal party candidate Rafael Pardo (5.1%).
With no candidate in the poll receiving the required 50% of the vote necessary to be declared president in the first round, a runoff election would then be required between the top two candidates alone.
In a scenario where Santos and Sanin run against each other in the second round of elections, the result was a dead heat, with Santos receiving 44.7% of the vote and Sanin 43%. The difference between the two numbers is smaller than the poll’s 3% margin of error, and indicates a virtual tie between the two candidates.
Pollsters also asked “What is the principal problem that should be resolved by the next president of Colombia?” Far and away the most popular response was “lowering unemployment,” which was named by 29.4% of respondents.
Following unemployment were “improving the quality and coverage of the health system” (9.7%), “developing programs to help families in situations of exterme poverty” (8.2%), “fighting corruption” (7.9%), and “fighting guerillas” (6.8%).
A question about opinions of various public figures in Colombia gave outgoing president Alvaro Uribe the highest approval rating of any person on the list, including current presidential candidates. Of the respondents, 75.4% viewed the president positively.
Polo candidate Gustavo Petro received the highest disapproval rating, with 43.4% of those polled giving a negative opinion of him.
In terms of party identification, Partido de la U was most popular, with 24.3% of respondents considering themselves aligned with it. This were followed by the Liberal Party (19%), and the Conservative Party (14.5%). 23.5% of voters do not consider themselves to be aligned with a party.
The poll was commissioned by a variety of Colombian media outlets and conducted on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of the holiday weekend. Pollsters questioned 1,200 Colombians from 51 towns in face-to-face interviews.
A report summarizing the poll results can be viewed here.