In spite of scandals, Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos and his closest rival for elections held on May 25, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, continue to strongly command polls, with Zuluaga leading Santos for the first time in one survey.
|Colombia’s 2014 elections|
The most recent Centro Nacional de Consultoria (CNC) poll shows that Zuluaga — the candidate of former President Alvaro Uribe‘s Democratic Center (Centro Democratico – CD) party — would beat the incumbent Santos in a first round election.
When prompted with the question, “Which candidate would you vote for the presidency?” the CNC showed that 24% would choose Uribe’s candidate, while just 22% would elect the current head of state.
This reflects a 4% decrease for Santos and a whopping 8% increase for Zuluaga since late April, though no other polls have confirmed such a takeover for Zuluaga.
Previous polls have indicated that the president would be forced to enter a run-off, but the CNC poll is the first to affirm that Santos might enter this second electoral round on the losing end.
FACT SHEET: Colombia 2014 election polls
CNC election polls
Opponents fail to benefit from scandals
In a run-off between the two candidates in the event of a second round of an election — this happens if no single candidate gains 50% of the vote during the first round — Zuluaga would receive a predicted 42% of the vote, while Santos would just earn 34%.
In the past two weeks, one of Santos’ main political strategists got into trouble for allegedly receiving $12M from drug traffickers. The scandal forced spin doctor Juan Jose Rendon to resign while prosecution officials opened a criminal investigation.
Meanwhile, Zuluaga’s campaign team found itself without campaign manager after the campaign team had been caught spying on ongoing peace talks with the FARC.
Paradoxically, none of the candidates who were not embroiled in high-profile scandals seemed able to benefit from the ongoing political turmoil.
Enrique Peñalosa, Green Alliance (Alianza Verde – AV) candidate, even lost two percentage points and lags with just 13%. Leftist Clara Lopez and conservative Marta Lucia Ramirez are holding up the caboose with 9% each.
Santos’ chances weakening in second round scenarios
However, if a runoff between Peñalosa and Santos would take place, still more said they would vote for Bogota‘s former mayor over the current president. Peñalosa would receive 38% to Santos’ 32%.
The first round of elections are scheduled for May 25.
The CNC is Colombia’s most regular, but also the apparently most unreliable pollster as its poll results generally differ greatly from other surveyors. CNC polls 1,000 adults in 45 municipalities it considers representative.