Wednesday, December 11, 2013

FMLN favored in the first round in El Salvador but...

Today's poll results released by the University of Central America bring good and bad news for the FMLN.

When voters are asked which candidate they intend to vote for in February, the FMLN's Salvador Sánchez Cerén leads with 38.4%. He is followed by ARENA's Norman Quijano with 33.4% and Unity's Tony Saca with 16.6%. Óscar Lemus (1.3%) of the Fuerza Patriota Salvadoreña (FPS) and René Rodríguez Hurtado (0.8%) of the Partido Progresista Salvadoreño (PSP) bring up the rear. Ten percent would not vote for any of the candidate or would abstain.

When using a simulated ballot, the FMLN occupies first place with 43.7%. The Frente is followed by ARENA at 36.2%. Tony Saca and Unity pick up the rear with 13.9%.

Finally, when voters are asked which party they intend to vote for, 38.7% say the FMLN, 31.3% ARENA, and 12% Unity. That's the good news for the incumbent FMLN. No matter how you ask about the vote, the FMLN comes out on top.

However, given that the winner needs to secure 50% of the total vote plus one, we all want to know about the likely outcome of a runoff. In a runoff between the top two parties, ARENA actually comes out slightly ahead here at 45.4% to 44.8%. However, the difference is within the margin of error so let's not get too worked up about it just yet - it's still anybody's ballgame.

And when voters are asked to choose between Sanchez Ceren and Tony Saca, 44.8% went with Sanchez Ceren and 37.2% for Saca. In a runoff between Quijano and Saca, 40.9% are inclined to vote for Quijano and 32.6% for Saca. These two scenarios are unlikely but one never knows given the difficulties within ARENA where the hits keep on coming.

In the last few weeks, investigations have been opened (one way or another) into former presidents Francisco Flores and Tony Saca as well as several other ARENA connected government officials and businessmen. Quijano is being looked at for misuse of funds as well. Then there's Quijano's vice presidential candidate, Rene Portillo Cuadra, who recently had to deny to the press that he was considering removing himself from the ticket. Today, ARENA officials announced that Flores was going to be leaving the Quijano campaign where he has been working as as advisor in order to fight allegations that he pocketed $10 million attend to personal matters.

It's going to be another exciting two months.

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