There are still eight months until Colombians elect their next president, but the race has already evolved into a four candidate contest. After months of leading the polls, former M-19 terrorist Gustavo Petro has fallen to fourth place in the most recent polling, with former Antioquia governor Sergio Fajardo now taking the lead.
The poll by Gallup – Invamer, released this weekend, puts Sergio Fajardo in first place with 21%, more than 8.5% above his competitors. Following Fajardo, Germán Vargas Lleras has moved into second place with 12.5%, with Claudia López and Gustavo Petro in third and fourth place with 11.2% and 10.4%, respectively. The four candidates have held the top spots in polling for months, with the 16 other candidates consistently polling in the low single digits. The poll has a margin of error of 3%.
Sergio Fajardo recently signed on to join a coalition with liberals Claudia López and Jorge Robledo. The alliance, named Coalición Ciudadana, is likely to boost his standing even further. If Fajardo is selected to represent the coalition, López would likely run as his vice president. Combined, the three are polling at 38.8%.
Despite being under the shadow of potential corruption charges, Fajardo has maintained his high favorability ratings. In the poll, 53.7% of Colombians view the ex-governor favorably. Two of Fajardo’s properties were recently seized, as the ex-governor is accused of inflating construction costs in order to funnel government funds to preferred contractors.
Fajardo reacted positively to the new poll, telling reporters this weekend that it shows his message is resonating with the public.
“We have been doing the same thing for 18 years. Professional integrity, dignity in politics, constructing better things for people, avoiding polarization and aggression; today, our message is resonating with Colombians”, Fajardo said.
Gustavo Petro, who fell out of first place for the first time in presidential polling, accused the pollsters of skewing results by including more respondents Antioquia.
“Ways to ensure that Petro is not leading in polling: use 540 respondents in Antioquia and Santander, and only 190 in Bogotá. We learn something new every day.”, Petro retorted on Twitter. He later added “Mr. and Mrs. Invamer, please, I ask you not to trick people“.
Lecciones para que Petro no encabece encuesta, hacer 540 encuestas en Antioquia y Santander y solo 190 en Bogotá. Todos los días se aprende
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) September 29, 2017