Graphic: La Nacion
Graphic: La Nacion

How can polls be so far off from each other? It was only a couple of days ago that a CID-Gallup poll for Repretel placed Johnny Araya of the Partio Liberación Nacional (PLN) on top with 39% of the decided vote, José Maria Villalta of the Frente Amplio in second with 26% and Otto Guevara of the Movimiento Libertario in third with 18%.

Today, a Unimer poll for the La Nacion paints a complete different story. Villata is on top with 22.2% voter support, Araya with 20.3% and Guevara with 20.2%.

The CID-Gallup poll was taken between January 8 and 13 with a 3.2% margin of error.The Unimer between January 6 and 12 and with a 2.2% margin of error.

With 17 days to go before voting day on February 2, it is seeming remote that any one of the top three candidates will get the required 40% of the vote, requiring a run-off vote in April between the two with the highest nummber of votes.

What we learn from the polls are three things. One, they are unreliable. Two, the candidate with the greatest advantage is Guevara. And three, Araya has suffered great losses since September when he rode the waves with more than 40% of support in the polls before the start of the election process.

While Villalta and Araya alternate being on top, Guevara, while maintaining steady in third spot, is gaining ground and could realistically be the swing vote to a run off. And could even be in the second round vote is voter support continues to grow.

As to the other candidates in this race, the Unimer poll places Luis Guillermo Solís, of the Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC), with 5.5%; and Rodolfo Piza, of the Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC), with 3.6%. The other eight candidates have a combined support of 5.8%.

Unimer says it interviewed 2.469 people across the country. Of those 1.940 were identified as probably voters.

La Nacion offers up some nice graphic charts of the Unimer poll.

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