Johnny Araya holds onto lead in latest UCR presidential poll

January 28, 2014
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Johnny Araya of the ruling National Liberation Party is the leading presidential hopeful among registered voters who have made up their minds, according to the latest poll from the University of Costa Rica’s Center for Research and Policy Studies (CIEP).

However, the “Undecided” option remains the top choice in the poll.

The former San José mayor polled 20.4 percent, followed by José María Villalta of the Broad Front Party with 15.3 percent. Otto Guevara of the Libertarian Movement Party and Luis Guillermo Solís of the Citizen Action Party are in a statistical tie of 11.2 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively (those numbers figure within the poll’s margin of error), according to the poll published online by the weekly Semanario Universidad late Tuesday night.

The weekly noted that since CIEP’s last poll in November 2013 only Solís reported a “statistically significant” increase in his support. The PAC candidate rose from 5.1 percent support in November to 9.5 percent in Tuesday’s poll. Still, he remains several percentage points behind second place. If the candidates fail to obtain at least 40 percent of the vote, the top two choices go to a runoff.

Less than two weeks away from the Feb. 2 election, 24.5 percent of Ticos surveyed said they still don’t know for whom they will cast their ballot. The poll reported that of these undecided voters, 79.4 percent say they intend to cast a ballot.

Even Araya, with his 20.4 percent, would have to capture the great majority of these undecided voters if he is to win the 40 percent necessary to avoid the runoff.

The CIEP survey is a  departure from the latest Unimer poll, published in La Nación on Jan. 16, which showed a neck-and-neck race between Araya, Villalta, and Guevara – all with  support from roughly 20 percent of likely voters.

In the CIEP poll, Rodolfo Piza of the Social Christian Unity Party had 3.1 percent support, followed by José Miguel Corrales of the New Homeland Party with 2.2 percent. The remaining candidates did not collect enough support to individually report, according to Semanario Universidad.

The 2014 elections could see lower abstention rates, too. CIEP’s survey said that 83.7 percent of these surveyed intended to vote, compared to previous surveys reporting a participation rate of between 65 percent and 74 percent.

Adrián Pignataro, one of the CIEP political scientists responsible for the survey, told The Tico Times that the poll’s margin of error had decreased from 3.89 in November to 2.82 with 95 percent confidence, making the latest poll more precise.

CIEP surveyed 1,207 adults between Jan. 8 and 18. Pollsters only spoke with people over the phone using a landline in their home.

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