(Reuters) – Colombian presidential candidate Juan Manuel Santos has a commanding lead against two-time Bogota Mayor Antanas Mockus for this month’s second round election, according to a new poll published on Friday.
Santos, a former defense minister, had 61.6 percent of the intended votes against Mockus with 29.8 percent, according to the Centro Nacional de Consultoria poll published in El Tiempo newspaper.
Santos won a solid first round victory on May 30, making him the favorite to be elected as successor to President Alvaro Uribe on June 20 when Colombians vote in the run-off.
Most polls before first round had shown Santos and Mockus, who ran on an anti-corruption platform, tied for the election. But Santos won 47 percent of the vote while Mockus received 22 percent.
Polls may have under-represented rural areas where Santos was seen as the stronger candidate.
Uribe, a staunch U.S. ally, steps down in August after two terms dominated by his war on leftist FARC guerrillas. Violence has eased and foreign investment increased five-fold since he first came to power in 2002.
Many Colombians thank him for making their country safer, but jobs and healthcare are now more of a concern than rebel violence. Some voters are also weary of corruption and human rights scandals that marred his second term.
Mockus, a former university professor known for his off-beat style, garnered support with his Green Party’s message of clean government. But analysts say his gaffes in debates and Santos’ political machinery helped give the Uribe ally the victory.
Whoever wins the run-off is expected to continue with Uribe’s basic security and pro-business policies and investors see little impact on the country’s peso or its TES bonds, the sixth most traded fixed income instrument in emerging markets outside home country.
The poll was carried out with 2,000 telephone interviews in 100 cities nationwide with a margin of error of 2.1 percentage points.
(Reporting by Patrick Markey; editing by Mohammad Zargham)