Iván Duque is the man to beat in Colombia’s 2018 presidential race. After winning a non-binding presidential ballot among conservative candidates on March 11 and receiving ex-President Álvaro Uribe's blessing to officially become the right's candidate, the Democratic Center senator from Bogotá shot up in polls, with comfortable margins over his closest challenger. Indeed, for up to a year, up to one in five Colombians had told pollsters they planned to vote for "whomever Uribe choses."
Primary campaigns often favor the extremes. Fittingly, the candidate closest in polls to Duque right now is from the other end of the spectrum: Gustavo Petro, a former Marxist rebel in the M-19 who went on to serve in the Colombian Congress and as Bogotá mayor. They’re facing against three other major candidates: the center-right ex-Vice President Germán Vargas Lleras, the center-left former Medellín Mayor Sergio Fajardo, and lead FARC peace negotiator Humberto de la Calle. Vargas Lleras represents the Radical Change Party and de la Calle the Liberal Party, while Petro and Fajardo head coalitions newly created for the 2018 race.
This all comes with the caveat that polling is famously unreliable in Colombia, so much so that independent news site La Silla Vacía decided after the 2014 elections to no longer include voter intention surveys in their election coverage. In the October 2016 plebiscite on the FARC peace deal, polls overestimated the "Yes" vote's position by an average of more than 30 points; the "No" side ended up winning by less than one half of 1 percent.
We monitor the findings of some of Colombia’s main pollsters to see how candidates are faring ahead of the May 27 first round and June 17 runoff.
This tracker was initially published on April 19 and has been updated to reflect the latest polling.