Santos support slipping away


Support appears to be dropping off for incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos according to two recently published polls.

A poll by Cifras y Conceptos published in the newspaper Semana shows the president’s support has dropped from 31% to 23% in the last month. He is the only candidate to lose support, with his closest rival Enrique Peñalosa of the Green Alliance (AV) having increased his percentage of the vote from 9% to 13%, still some way behind. Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, the candidate of former President Alvaro Uribe’s Democratic Centre (CD) has also gone up according to the poll from 8% to 11%.

This poll suggests that Santos will still win in the second round, although the blank votes have increased and would be recorded at 39% with Santos on 26% and Peñalosa on 19%. The blank votes, also known as white votes are a rejection vote and if higher than any of the candidates they would lead to a fresh election in which none of the candidates in the previous vote would be eligible to stand.

Another poll by Centro Nacional de Consultoria (CNC) is also not encouraging and gives Santos 26% for the first round against Enrique Peñalosa of the Green Alliance (AV) who would take 18% with Oscar Zuluaga of the Democratic Centre (CD) on 14%. The poll suggests that in the second round Santos would lose to Peñalosa by 36% to 41%.

Much of the damage to President Santos appears to have come as a result of his removal of Mayor of Bogota Gustavo Petro. In a decision which has angered many people and led to protests the President ignored a ruling by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and removed the Mayor.

A candidate needs to get more than 50% of the vote in the first round on 25th May if he is to avoid a second round runoff. If that is not possible, an increasingly it looks likely that no-one will reach 50% then a second round runoff will take place on 15th June where a simple majority is required, subject to the blank vote count.

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