What do the Honduran polls tell us? Well, the next president of Honduras will be elected to a four-year term by a simple majority of valid votes. There's no second round runoff as in El Salvador and Guatemala nor 40% of the vote or 35% with at least a 5-point lead over the nearest rival as in Nicaragua.
The electoral rules favor former first lady Xiomara Castro de Zelaya. She led each of the four polls that Cáceres sought to highlight. There's also no concern that the right and/or traditional political parties will consolidate around a single candidate in a runoff.
What to think of the last column? Honestly, I don't know. The percentages capture those who are not sure who they are going to vote vote, who are not saying, or who chose one of the four smaller parties with little hope of competing.
Cáceres believes that most of these potential voters will support Nasralla, Hernandez and Villeda with most going to the National and Liberal party candidates.
One of the strengths of Mrs. Zelaya's base of supporters is its enthusiasm and genuine affection for their candidate. Backers of Xiomara Zelaya are going to go out and vote for her en masse. They are not luke-warm in their feelings, but rather passionate and energetic. They've already made up their minds, and there's no way they would vote for any of the other candidates.
It is unlikely then that you'll find many potential voters for Mrs. Zelaya among the one-fifth to half of those polled. Most of those voters within this uncertain group will go to Mr. Hernández, Mr. Nasralla, or Mr. Villeda. And I contend that it is highly likely that Hondurans who have traditionally voted for the Liberal or National parties, but are uncertain this time around, will end up going with whom they're most comfortable once they sit down and fill out their voting ballots.
Some of these uncertain voters may be tempted to vote for Mr. Nasralla at the last minute, because everyone in Honduras is desperate to find a way to deal with corruption, and Mr. Nasralla appears to be campaigning almost entirely on fighting corruption. But few, if any, of these voters will opt for Mrs. Zelaya, because socialism and the second coming of the Zelaya clan still remains a scary or unpleasant prospect for most Hondurans.I wouldn't say that's how I read the survey responses. How I read the data is that Xiomara Castro de la Zelaya's passionate supporters give her a floor of somewhere around 25%. They are going to turn out and vote for her no matter what. I agree that her hard corp supporters are not in the final column but there's no reason to think that she won't get any support from those Hondurans.
The final column comprises those without a strong political preference, those who do not want to answer for whatever reason, those whose stated preference is not one of the top four candidates, and those who are probably less likely to vote anyway.
They could be voters who go into the voting station disgusted with the traditional parties but leery of the Resistance. As a result, they could go with the traditional parties that they know best, as Cáceres believes. It might be just as easy for those voters to say the hell with the traditional parties that got us into this mess - I'm going with Castro de Zelaya on election day (@davidmauro). They could also be potential voters who are scared or embarrassed to tell someone that they intend to vote for the Libre Party and return the Zelaya power couple to power.
I just don't think that these polls tell us much about the likely electoral choice of those who comprise the last column.