Weekly Report - 19 May 2022 (WR-22-20)

COLOMBIA: Candidates go into overdrive as campaign winds up

Colombia’s presidential candidates have been ramping up their campaigns, crisscrossing the country in search of crucial votes ahead of the first round of elections on 29 May. The most likely outcome remains a victory for the longtime frontrunner Gustavo Petro, of the left-wing Pacto Histórico, but not by enough to avoid the need for a second round contest next month. Federico Gutiérrez, his right-wing rival, who has stagnated in the polls, has enlisted the help of former president César Gaviria (1990-1994), the leader of the centre-left Partido Liberal (PL), in the hope of gaining a boost. Gutiérrez remains the favourite to contest the likely run-off against Petro, although there are signs that the populist former mayor of Bucaramanga, Rodolfo Hernández, could be making a late surge.

An electoral survey, published on 15 May by Centro Nacional de Consultoría (CNC), suggests that far from closing in on Petro, Gutiérrez might not have an unassailable lead over his closest rival. The CNC survey had a large sample of 6,204 respondents in 116 municipalities in every department across the country. It found that Petro enjoys a comfortable lead on 38%, while Gutiérrez remains rooted on 23%. This is very similar to previous surveys by CNC and other pollsters. The big change, however, was in support for Hernández, who climbed from just 9.6% in the previous CNC poll in late April to 16%, pulling decisively clear of the fourth-placed candidate, Sergio Fajardo, of the centrist Coalición Centro Esperanza (CCE), on 7%.

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