Chile’s Kast Beats Top Leftist Contenders in Presidential Poll
(Bloomberg) -- Chile’s conservative candidate Jose Antonio Kast would beat both of the main leftist contenders in a presidential runoff, according to one of the final polls released ahead of the highly-contested election.
Kast got 44% of support while leftist rival Gabriel Boric got 40% in a second-round vote, according to a survey by Cadem released Friday. Kast would also edge out Yasna Provoste in a runoff by a 42% to 41% result that falls within the poll’s margin of error.
The right-wing candidate also extended his lead in an outlook for the first round, garnering 25%, up from 24% previously. In that scenario, he is trailed by Boric with 19%, which is unchanged from the previous Cadem poll.
Chile is gearing up for elections as the two front-runners put forth strikingly opposing views on the future of one of the region’s richest nations. Kast, who is a former congressman, backs tax cuts, stronger immigration controls and a smaller government presence. Onetime student protest leader Boric wants higher levies, greater social equality and the end to private pensions.
The vote takes place amid simmering social discontent that boiled over with massive anti-government protests in late 2019. More recently, the anniversary of the start of that unrest was marked by violent demonstrations.
The race was upended this week after Boric caught Covid-19, forcing the left-wing deputy and his five top rivals including Kast into isolation. Investors are also watching to see if the quarantines alter voting schedules for a pension withdrawal bill and an impeachment motion against President Sebastian Pinera.
Several other polls released earlier this week showed Kast defeating Boric in a runoff. Those survey results boosted Chilean assets, with treasury peso bonds yields falling and the benchmark S&P IPSA index rising 7.2% in the last week.
Fifty-two percent of respondents in the Cadem survey said they would not vote for Kast under any circumstances, down from 71% in late August. Boric’s rejection rate stood at 56%, up four percentage points during the same period.
The poll also showed Franco Parisi garnering 10% of voter support in the first round. That puts him ahead of Provoste at 9% and center-right candidate Sebastian Sichel at 8%. Twenty-two percent of respondents reported that they are still undecided on who they will support in the first round.
Cadem surveyed 1,010 people by phone Nov. 2-4. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
The first round of presidential elections will take place Nov. 21. If no single candidate wins more than half of the vote, a runoff will be held Dec. 19.
According to local legislation, the media is banned from releasing any poll data starting 15 days before the election.
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