Right-wing coalition candidate Iván Duque pulled out to a substantial lead in the latest poll for the Colombian presidential election in May, commanding 40% of the support of those surveyed who intend to vote.
The figure represents a major surge for Duque, the handpicked candidate of former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, who from his current seat in the Senate still has major political influence across the nation.
Iván Duque had lagged in prior versions of the poll (La Gran Encuesta) but is now the clear favorite after winning the right-wing coalition primary on March 11.
On the same day, Gustavo Petro, the former Bogotá mayor and one-time rebel in the M-19 guerrilla movement, won the leftist coalition nomination in a landslide. His support has remained relatively steady since the last poll, coming in slightly higher at 24% and putting him firmly in second place among the candidates.
Ranking third, actually, is nobody. The next-highest-ranking choice, at 13%, went to “voto en blanco,” a blank ballot.
Leaving the ballot empty is a consistently popular option for Colombians who want to exercise their right to vote but don’t want to see any of the listed candidates in office — a sentiment expressed far and wide among a highly divided nation that has grown fed up with corruption, a four-year debate surrounding the peace accord with FARC guerrillas, and the constant political mudslinging on both sides of the political spectrum.
Among candidates, Sergio Fajardo, the former mayor of Medellín and ex-governor of the Antioquia department, ranked third with support from 9% of those who intend to vote.
Former vice president Germán Vargas Lleras followed at 6%, and the responses were rounded out by Humberto de la Calle (2%), Viviane Morales (1%), and Piedad Córdoba (1%).
Another 5% stated that they did not know or did not respond.
Photo: Will Iván Duque be the next tenant of Casa de Nariño, the home of the Colombian president in Bogotá? (Photo credit: Juandavid1227)