Poll Update: Potential for a Close Runoff in Uruguay's Presidential Race


The ruling party maintains the lead, but may not receive enough votes to avoid a second round. 

With less than two months to go before Uruguay’s October 26 general election, polls show the ruling Broad Front coalition may not muster the absolute majority needed to avoid a runoff against the opposition National Party in the race for president. If no candidate receives the necessary 50 percent plus one, a second-round vote will be held on November 30.

An Instituto Factum survey conducted between August 29 and September 3 measured voter intention for the Broad Front at 42 percent, a 10-point lead over the National Party, at 32 percent. The National Party—whose presidential candidate, Luis Lacalle Pou, is the son of a former president—saw a slight rise in support with a one-point increase in both July and August. On the other hand, ex-President Tabaré Vázquez leading the Broad Front’s ticket recovered from a one-point drop in August. The Colorado Party, headed by Pedro Bordaberry, stands in third place with 15 percent. The latest CIFRA poll conducted in August put the Broad Front’s support at 41 percent and the National Party’s at 32 percent, a nine-point difference and the narrowest margin during the entire campaign. 

Meanwhile, a September 10 survey from Equipos Mori found slightly lower levels of support for the Broad Front and the National Party, at 40 and 28 percent, respectively, as well as for the Colorado Party, at 11 percent. The pollster measured a higher number of undecided voters than the Factum and CIFRA surveys, and found 11 percent of voters were not sure which candidate to support. 

In 2009, President José Mujica of the Broad Front received 48 percent of the first-round vote before winning in the runoff.Vázquez needs a similar level of first-round support to have a chance in November’s runoff, said CIFRA Director Luis Eduardo Gonzalez in an interview with Uruguay’s El Pais. “If Vázquez is between 44 and 45 percent [in October], he will most likely lose in November, but if he is between 46 and 47 percent, it is more likely he will win,” he added.

Although the Broad Front enjoys a lead, the combined support among opposition parties may mean a close runoff. The National and Colorado Parties constitute Uruguay’s right-leaning “traditional parties,” and votes from the third-place party are expected to go to the National Party in the event of a runoff, rather than the leftist Broad Front. Currently, the combined support for these traditional parties surpasses that of the Broad Front in both the CIFRA and Factum polls.