QCOSTARICA – If the elections were this Sunday, Costa Rica would have a heart attack to meet the new president, since there is currently a technical tie, according to the Centro de Investigación y Estudios Políticos (CIEP UCR) – the Center for Research and Political Studies of the Universidad de Costa Rica.
At ten days before the second round of voting to elect the president – and without having held the last presidential debates – Rodrigo Chaves of Partido Progreso Social Democratico (PPSD) has the support of 43.5% of the voters, compared to former president and candidate of the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN), José María Figueres, who would obtain 38.11% electoral support.
It is considered a technical draw because the margin of error of 3.1 percentage points would allow Figueres to even the contest if it is considered that he would reach maximum support of 41.8% of the electorate, while Chaves would have a minimum vote of 39.5%, the researchers explained.
The survey, based on 1,015 interviews between March 17 and 21, also reveals 16.5% undecided (range between 13.7% and 19.3% due to margin of error); people who say they intend to vote but do not know who to vote for.
Of the 73% who say they will be voting, researchers warn that the participation could ultimately be lower, because for one in four voters the decision becomes difficult and it may be that when April 3 arrives they will opt not to vote.
In principle, the UCR would be carrying out a final study, but it has not yet been confirmed.
At the beginning of March, the UCR determined that Chaves had the support of 46.5% of the voters, while Figueres had 35.9% of the support.
The survey is released amid mud-slinging and accusations from both candidates.
Ronald Alfaro, coordinator of the CIEP-UCR survey explained: “After the first round, Chaves and Figueres have staged a campaign with little substantive discussion and plenty of questions, such as those facing Chaves over the financing of his campaign, a probable factor in the loss of the wide advantage he exhibited at the beginning of March.
“There are indications that the questions have an influence because other factors are not seen. The depth of that effect is something we have to measure. It was not asked on this occasion because it is a situation to which new information is added every day in the media”.
As to the debates, although both reciprocally accuse each other of evading debates, five media outlets have confirmed to broadcast the confrontations live before the second round on April 3: Columbia and Monumental radio stations and Diario Extra, Repretel and Teletica television stations.
Positives and negatives of Rodrigo Chaves
Among those who identify some positive traits in Chaves, the reference to his experience and knowledge in the economy prevailed, in addition to being a new figure. But when asked to point out a negatives, the antecedent of sexual harassment stands out (sanctions he received when he worked at the World Bank), an arrogant and macho personality.
Positives and negatives of Jose Maria Figueres
About the former president, his greatest qualities pointed out by the respondents are his experience, knowledge and proposals. On the other hand, all of his shortcomings are associated with the corruption challenges he has faced in the past, with words like “corruption”, “background”, “fled”, “steals”, “mistrust” and “Alcatel”.
Tuesday afternoon, Chaves accused Figueres of promoting a dirty campaign out of desperation, where videos related to suicide and other practices go viral to try to link him to the PPSD party.
“This is a disgusting campaign by José María Figueres and the PLN,” Chaves said.
However, the PLN denied any involvement in the making of this video.
“At the PLN campaign, we have known of a painful video that recently circulated. We regret that people without the greatest qualms about human pain, use our message lines to try to discredit us. The video does not correspond to the liberationist campaign,” the PLN said in a statement.
In the ad in question, voting for Chaves is compared to jumping off a building.
The PLN candidate stated repeatedly during the second-round campaigning “that Costa Rica is not up for experiments” and that electing his rival would be like “jumping into the void.”