San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Three way

Costa Rica headed for a runoff election as latest poll suggests 3-way tie

Costa Rica seems headed for its second runoff election in history with three candidates in a dead heat 15 days before the Feb. 2 election, according to the latest national poll.

The daily La Nación reported Thursday that José María Villalta of the Broad Front Party (FA), Johnny Araya of National Liberation (PLN), and Otto Guevara of the Libertarian Movement Party are in a statistical tie, according to a poll by Unimer.

The left-leaning Villalta moved into first place for the first time in a national survey with 22.2 percent of likely voters saying they would support him, followed by Araya, with 20.3 percent, and Guevara, with 20.2 percent.

Villalta supporters though should hold their breath before celebrating the news. The survey of 2,469 Costa Ricans has a 2.2 percent margin of error, landing the top three candidates on equal footing, statistically, at least.

Former San José mayor Araya has seen a steep decline in support since his high in September of more than 50 percent. Meanwhile, Villalta and Guevara – political polar opposites – have bounded upward.

Luis Guillermo Solís of the Citizen Action Party (PAC) and Rodolfo Piza of the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) continue to limp along at 5.5 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively.

Both Araya and Solís on Thursday dismissed the poll as inaccurate.

The remaining seven presidential candidates garnered 5.8 percent.

Despite the close race, none of the top three candidates has the 40 percent required to avoid a runoff election in April.

The last time Costa Rica had a runoff election was in 2002, when Abel Pacheco of PUSC beat the PLN’s Ronaldo Araya, according to La Nación.

More than 46 percent of those surveyed by Unimer between Jan. 6 and Jan. 12 reported they would vote and had already chosen a candidate, while 21.4 were unlikely to vote.

This leaves 32 percent of likely voters up for grabs who have yet to settle on a candidate, a portion of the electorate that could easily push one candidate over the edge to victory in the first round.

Not so fast, say Solís, Araya

Ruling party candidate Araya disputed the results Thursday morning.

“First of all, I disqualify the results of this poll, and I disqualify them categorically,” he told La Nación in a telephone interview.

The CID-Gallup poll released Tuesday gave Araya a growing lead of 39 percent of likely voters, compared to 26 percent in favor of Villalta and 18 percent for Guevara.

PAC candidate Solís also took issue with the last two surveys, from CID-Gallup on Tuesday, and Unimer’s Thursday.

Solís posted a YouTube video rejecting the results and suggestions that his political party has stagnated in the polls.

Don’t be fooled by the polls! We’re the cause of joy and we’re going to win,” Solís tweeted Thursday.

Contact Zach Dyer at

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My Conversation With a PLN Surporter

ME asking Why do you Like Johnny Araya?

PLN says Johnny is really rich and like rich in Costa Rica.

ME asking PLN have coruption is that okay?

PLN says Coruption is okay because Costa Rican are passive and don´t get mad so we can steal from them.

ME asking The road and Caja are falling apart should we fix them?

PLN Says No we only help are friends the rich not the poor or middle class.

Me asking Does the PLN have a plan?

PLN say no not really we say one thing during election and do nothing when we get in power.

Me asking Why do you hate poor?

PLN say poor are there to pick coffee.

Me asking Who owns Costa Rica?

PLN say the rich family that help PLN

The truth about the PLN

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My conversation with a Diehard Villalta Supporter

Me; What is your biggest complaint with the current government?

VS; Corruption.

ME; How much money did you make last month? ( he knows I know because he is a subcontractor)

VS; Approx $2000

ME; How much did you report and pay to CajA?

VS; I pay the voluntariio amount.

ME; Of course you do… So what u are telling me is you don’t report your $2000. ?

VS; No, I am allowed to just pay the minimum.

ME; Well, I am in business and according to your registration with Hacienda, you are too and I do not have option of paying my employees the minimum amount you pay. Oh and while we are on that subject, how much to you report to hacienda?

VS; I don’t feel comfortable or obliged to discuss my personal finances.

ME; No, I am sure you don’t. So, I will assume that given your example on how you approach your obligations to medical insurance, you feel the same way about the tax people.

VS; Look, you are a foreigner and you do not understand how Costa Ricans and our country works.

ME; Hmmmm…. Maybe it is you who do not understand? Because from where I sit, you are engaging in full scale corruption. I find it very odd, you clearly have no sense or responsibility for your views or actions and yet, the first thing that comes out of your mouth is that you have a big problem with government corruption.

VS; No answer… (Awkward silence)

ME; Listen, after almost 10 years here, what I can see is most local Costa Ricans are no different then you. The citizens are engaging in their own personal corruption just as much as the government. Why would you expect to have a squeaky clean government?

VS; I don’t want to discuss this anymore.

ME; I am sure you don’t.

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Andrew Moore

“Despite the close race, none of the top three candidates have the 40 percent required to avoid a runoff election in April.” Arg… basic grammar, folks!

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Billy Jones when you say..

“He’s corrupt but whatever, it is the same as always in Ticoland..”

I tell you that to say something like that is not from an honest person! Please, you may like the candidate you want but saying you prefer a corrupt person in power is very disappointing coming from someone born in the land of freedom and justice. #sarcasm!

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Billy Jones

Bottom line is there are 3 real possibilities here and to ignore that is ignoring reality.

#1 Villalta wins and we’re headed to Chavez/Castro type communism and Costa Rica is dommed.

#2 Johnny Araya wins and things basically stay the same as they are.

#3 Otto wins and Costa Rica moves on the path to common sense and prosperity.

-Villatla wins and its time to leave Costa Rica and let them see how they do without us gringos. This is what Villatla wants I’m sure. This man will destroy the currency and the economy as fast as he possibly can.

-For me personally I think this is most likely regardless of these polls. Araya is just too powerful and has too many friends. I believe Araya wins and we go on as normal and I suppose that is ok. He’s corrupt but whatever, it is the same as always in Ticoland. I will continue coming to Costa Rica for investments and leisure.

-Otto wins, and electricity and gasolina prices will plummet; only one who loses with that is the union thugs that control those rackets. Otto will eliminate the 90-day visa so we can stay to spend our money which will benefit us and the Ticos. He will do simple common sense things like incorporate the stupid $29 airport tax into the price of the ticket so we can stop wasting time at the airport. He will make the economy of Costa Rica boom and take off like never before seen and create 500,000 new jobs in his 4 years as president.

Trust me, every gringo and tico should be hoping and praying for either Otto to win, and for sure for Villalta and the communists he represents to be voted as low as possible.

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Luis guevara

I see PAC as a good choice. PLN scare me for 4 more years. Broke CAJA bad roads and son on. PAC i will vote for you like Ben Said.

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As for PLN i have not heard from one person in Costa Rica that likes them now. TO BAD Election night could get intresting. Two or three parties might need to join to get PLN out of power. Otton Solis from PAC in Congress would be good he has balls and say what he means.

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Pac could win these polls are not very good people say anything i was called the other day and said i surported PAC then they asked for my wife and she said PAc she surported then my father inlaw got to speak with th pollester and he said PAC he with surport. Everyone i know is surporting PAC

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