Colombian presidential candidates Juan Manuel Santos and Antanas Mockus have increased their lead in the run-up to the May 30 balloting, a new poll released Thursday revealed.
Mockus, a former Bogotá mayor and candidate of the centrist Green Party, stood in second place with 29% of the vote, while Santos, a tough defence minister and standard-bearer of the conservative Party of the U, remained in first with 36%, according to the survey commissioned by the CM& news program.
Conservative Party hopeful Noemi Sanin, a former ambassador to Spain and Britain, finds herself 10 points behind Mockus with 19% of voter preference.
Support for four other candidates registered only in the single digits, while 2% of respondents said they would cast a blank ballot and 3% either said they did not have a preference or did not respond.
The poll, which has a margin of error of plus/minus 3 percentage-points, was conducted from April 12-14 in 38 cities.
A survey commissioned by the daily El Tiempo and W radio and released last week showed Santos with 29.5% of the vote, Mockus with 24.8% and Sanin with 16%..
Colombians will go to the polls on May 30 to choose the successor to President Alvaro Uribe. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, a runoff will be held on June 20. The newly elected president will be sworn in on August 7 for a four-year term.
Current president Alvaro Uribe was unsuccessful in his attempt for a constitutional amendment that would enable him to run for a third consecutive period.
Uribe has proven to be one of Colombia’s presidents with the most sustained support in over half a century.
His “strong democracy” policies to fight insurgency and organized drug lords, with US support, has turned the tide, as well as his orthodox policies to open the Colombian economy and attract foreign investment.
In his eight years as president his public opinion support has never been below 60%.