When we last looked at poll numbers for the various presidential candidates in November, Otto Perez Molina (PP) was the front runner. He has been consistently beating don't know / not saying. In January 2009, 29% of those surveyed said that they would vote for him. However, in January 2010 his support fell to 21%. A survey conducted by a different company in August 2010 had him back at 34%. Given that three of the last four polls had Molina between 30% and 40%, I am more comfortable saying that his support is somewhere between those two numbers rather than the 21% he received in January 2010.
New numbers came out last week from Borge y Asociados, the same organization that conducted the last two January polls. The poll was conducted nationwide between December 5 and 10th of last month (there is no mention of the poll's margin of error). Here's what they found.
- 39% support Otto Perez Molina (PP)
- 11% support Sandra Torres de Colom (UNE)
- 6% support Eduardo Suger (Casa)
- 5% support Harold Caballeros (Viva)
- 3% support former president Alvaro Arzu (PAN)
- 2% support Nineth Montenegro (EG)
- 1.4% support for Manuel Baldizon (LIDER) and Zury Rios Montt (FRG)
First Lady Sandra Torres de Colom was the person with the second highest level of support, having improved from 9.5% in January 2010 to 11% in 2011. That seems pretty low to me especially when her husband's support fell from 6% to near zero.
As of right now, we are most likely to see Perez Molina and Torres (or another representative of the UNE - GANA alliance) go head-to-head even though it's not clear that the constitution will permit her to run.
While former President and current mayor of Guatemala City Alvaro Arzu is barred from running and is trailing badly with 3% support, nearly 50% of the respondents would be okay if he were to be elected again.
One way to read this is that people do not strongly support the constitutional prohibition on reelection. If they don't support this part of the constitution, I don't imagine that public opinion would be against allowing Torres, Zury Rios Montt, and Caballeros to run. That doesn't mean that there won't be an uproar, just that majority public opinion won't be behind the protests.
Update: Apparently there was also a poll carried out between November 2 and 10 by CID-Gallup. This poll was commissioned by the Colom government. In this poll, 29% supported Pérez Molina while Torres came in at 23%. It's possible that Colom's numbers dropped significantly from the first week of November to the first week of December. However, such a drop is unlikely.
Instead, Gustavo Berganza speculates that CID-Gallup's survey of 2,902 respondents more accurately reflected a nationwide sample of Guatemalan voters (including the Peten and the rural areas) while the Borge and Associates poll of 1,008 might have drawn a larger sample from the cities.
A poll that oversampled the country's urban areas would have the effect of overestimating Perez Molina's support (he carried the more urban areas in 2007) and underestimating Colom's support (Sandra's husband carried the rural areas in 2007 and her popularity through government social programs is likely to be stronger in these areas as well).