The undefined candidate of El Salvador’s governing conservatives holds a slight edge in the early stages of the country’s presidential race, according to a poll by Consulta Mitofsky released by TCS. 29.8 per cent of respondents would vote for the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) nominee in the next election, up 1.9 points since November.
A candidate representing the opposition leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) would be second with 24.3 per cent. More than two-in-five respondents remain undecided.
Antonio Saca, a media businessman, was elected in March 2004 as the ARENA candidate, garnering 57.73 per cent of the vote. ARENA candidates have won the last four presidential elections in the Central American country. Saca is ineligible for a consecutive term in office.
Earlier this month, FMLN presidential candidate Mauricio Funes—a television journalist—alleged that he is the victim of political persecution, declaring, "I’ve been on tour for four months along the country’s municipalities, and what we have noticed is that, over the past few weeks, pick-up trucks with tinted windows have been following us."
In November 2007, Saca announced that ARENA would choose its next presidential nominee by holding a three-candidate nationwide primary before March 2008. Yesterday, ARENA revealed the names of the three contenders: former National Police chief Rodrigo Ávila, current vice-president Ana Vilma de Escobar, and former presidential advisor Luis Mario Rodríguez.
The next legislative election is scheduled for Jan. 18, 2009, with a presidential ballot following on Mar. 15.
Source: Consulta Mitofsky / TCS
Methodology: Face-to-face interviews with 1,200 Salvadoran adults, conducted from Feb. 7 to Feb. 11, 2008. Margin of error is 2.85 per cent.