Guatemala Update: Another Poll, Another Big Lead for Morales

By Carin Zissis

The ex-comedian [or “political outsider”] joined the race late, but polls give him a formidable lead ahead of Sunday’s runoff vote. 

Days before Guatemala’s presidential runoff vote, a new poll gives political newcomer Jimmy Morales the lead—even in the rural areas considered the stronghold of his rival, Sandra Torres. Overall, the comedian-turned-frontrunner leads the former first lady by a whopping 36 percent of valid votes, per a poll conducted by Prodatos between October 9 and 14 and published October 21 by Prensa Libre

The election takes place on October 25 and pits Morales, candidate for the right-leaning National Convergence Front and first-round winner, against Torres, who represents the left-leaning National Union of Hope.

Prensa Libre conjectures that Morales’ poll lead in rural areas signals that social programs championed by Torres and her party are failing to bolster her candidacy. An August survey gave her 22.2 percent support in rural areas compared to 7.3 percent for Morales.

Meanwhile, Morales was a latecomer and hadn’t even entered the race in April, when Prensa Libre published the first major Prodatos poll for this election cycle. The Guatemalan daily says Morales’ “meteoric rise” as an outsider stems from voter disenchantment related to a string of corruption scandals, including one that led to the resignation and arrest of President Otto Pérez Molina.

As our last poll update shows, surveys conducted by Felipe Noguera also give Morales more than 30 points over Torres.

The Prodatos poll involved voter simulation conducted in 138 locations across Guatemala. Nearly 14 percent of participants cast null or blank votes, and the poll has a margin of error of 2.8 percent.