Colombian leftist leader Gustavo Petro no longer enjoys a clear path to victory in the upcoming presidential election, according to two new polls published over the weekend.
A survey conducted by the National Consulting Center and published by Semana magazine on Saturday, suggests a tightening race between Petro and his main rival, conservative candidate Federico “Fico” Gutierrez. Similar results emerged from another study by Guarumo S.A.S. and Ecoanalitica Medicion y Conceptos Economicos S.A.S., published in El Tiempo newspaper on Sunday.
In the likely scenario that the two face each other in a runoff, the first poll found that Petro would receive 43.1% of votes, while Gutierrez would get 40.1% — just within the margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percentage point.
The Guarumo-Ecoanalitica survey shows Gutierrez leading with 43.5%, followed closely by Petro with 40.1%, which would be considered a technical tie, according to El Tiempo. Previous polls showed Petro easily beating all his main rivals in a second round.
Petro, 61, has called for a new economic model that doesn’t rely on oil and coal. He is popular with young and low-income voters, while many business leaders fear him. Gutierrez, the 47-year-old former mayor of Medellin, has vowed to take a tougher stance on security issues.
Colombians vote for president on May 29 with a likely runoff in June.
Other findings of the National Consulting Center poll:
- Petro remains the most popular individual candidate, though many centrist voters would back his rival in the runoff.
- Some 36.5% of polled voters said they would support Petro in the first round, up from 32.1% in the Semana poll conducted two weeks earlier. Gutierrez has 24.5% support.
- Former mayor of Bucaramanga Rodolfo Hernandez is running third with backing of 10% of voters
- Sergio Fajardo, who won the center-left primary this month, is fourth with 8.4%
- Petro would beat Fajardo in a runoff with 41.5% vs. 38.3%
- The poll of 4,206 likely voters was conducted from March 28 to 31
— With assistance by Oscar Medina, Nicolle Yapur, and Shiyin Chen