Conservative candidate Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former dictator Alberto Fujimori now sitting in jail for human rights violations, closes in on leftist first-round winner Pedro Castillo for Sunday's presidential runoff in Peru, a study showed Thursday.
Fujimori's strategy of presenting herself as the alternative to chaos has placed her just between one and two points behind, it was reported.
Castillo is said to be banking on almost half of the effective votes, while Fujimori could only secure one-third of the country's constituency. But to overcome that plus the burden of her own surname she has resorted to polarization.
Castillo has carved out a political career outside the usual channels of the Lima political elite and after the April 11 first round, he has strengthened his leftist politic stance, wrapped in the moral rhetoric of the deprived people. However, his plan of government bases its economy politics on the markets, far from formal socialist stances.
On the other hand, Fujimori focused herself discourse on the logic of order in the face of chaos, trying to identify Castillo with the authoritarian and anti-market drifts of neighbouring countries, particularly Venezuela, so that fear or ideological rejection lured voters who, although not particularly keen on her, would choose anyone over Castillo.
In addition to the classic polls of voting intention, in which respondents are allowed to show indecision or choose a blank vote, the main Peruvian polling houses carry out what they call mock voting in the final stretch: studies that have the same guarantees of representativeness than surveys, but in which the election is also restricted to two candidates with a simulated ballot. From there, a calculation of valid votes cast for each candidate is extracted, minimizing the possibilities of the doubt for the respondent. The average of the last four published mock voting has raised uncertainty to a point where Castillo would win by 50.4% of the votes against Fujimori's 49.7%.
In other words, pollsters are no longer so sure about a Castillo victory as they were in the past few days. In May, first, mock voting showed gaps between 3 and 5 percentage points. In one of the simulations this week, Fujimori is even ahead of Castillo by 1.4 points.
During the last weeks, campaigns from both candidates have become moderate, seeking the vote of the political centre. On one side, via signs in the streets and social media, critics against Castillo warn about Peru to become a new Venezuela if the rural teacher wins and changes the Constitution.
On the other, Peruvian prosecutors requested 30 years and 10 months in prison in March for Fujimori. The daughter of former dictator is accused of money laundering for allegedly receiving illegal money from Brazil's Odebrecht to finance her 2011 and 2016 campaigns, after concluding 28 months of investigation.
The individualized trend of each drill also points in this same direction. For example, the one prepared by the pollster Ipsos Peru marked a loss of 1.5 points for Castillo between May 21 and 28 (from 52.6% to 51.1%) and an increase of the same value for Fujimori (from 47.4% to 48.9%). In the one carried out by Datum, the one that gave Castillo the greatest advantage (6.4 points: 53.2% vs. 46.8%), the contest ended with a virtual tie (50.5% vs. 49.5 %) in just one week.
Based on these same data, the statistical forecast of the independent Electoral Calculation platform produces a forecast that discriminates and corrects the biases and qualities of the surveys. This exercise serves, more than as an indisputable prediction mechanism, as a tool to calibrate uncertainty.
Analysts Ricardo Viteri, Sebastián Naranjo and Carolina Viteri still believe Castillo has a 6/10 chance of winning. But a decision on whom not to vote outweighs technical preferences, it was reported. In this scenario, every single vote counts.