Colombia: The runoff looks superfluous now

The chances that Colombia would become the first country to elect a Green chief executive–as numerous polls had said was likely–dimmed dramatically after the outcome of Sunday’s first round.

Juan Manuel Santos of the party most closely affiliated with outgoing incumbent President Alvaro Uribe, came close to an outright win. He scored 46.6%, to a distant 21.5% for Green candidate Antanas Mockus.

Polls in recent weeks had tended to put the two candidates close, in the mid thirties percent range, and generally had Mockus winning the runoff, which will be on 20 June.

However, with that large a lead, there is only the slimmest of chances that Mockus could ultimately win.

I always expected Santos’s support within the “political class,” and the ability of rural leaders to mobilize votes for the more establishment candidate, would pull Santos through. But I had no expectation that he would be so close to 50% in the first round, or so far ahead of Mockus.

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For excellent coverage of the election, including pre-election profiles of each candidate, please see PoliBlog.

One thought on “Colombia: The runoff looks superfluous now

  1. “Polls in recent weeks had tended to put the two candidates close, in the mid thirties percent range”

    What does this imply for the argument that preferential elimination of lower candidates is unnecessary since those voters who want to keep out their more-hated major playa, just vote tactically anyway? Put another way, how reliable generally are opinion polls as a proxy for an actual ballot?

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