Chile’s Presidential Polls Show Increasingly Polarized Race
(Bloomberg) -- Chilean presidential candidates from opposing ends of the political spectrum, Jose Antonio Kast and Gabriel Boric, are running neck and neck according to two polls released with less than a month left before the vote.
Kast had 23% of voter intentions in a Cadem poll published on Sunday, up from 21% in the previous week’s survey and compared with 20% for Boric, who was unchanged on the week before. A separate survey by Criteria and reported by local news outlet BioBio, showed Boric ahead with 30.8%, versus 27.7% for Kast. BioBio didn’t give details on the methodology.
The surveys follow a contentious week in local politics marked by finger-pointing over violent protests that left two people dead and 450 arrested. Adding to market jitters over the elections, Chile is also writing a new constitution in an effort to end two years of social unrest. At stake in the debate are economic rules that turned the country into an investor favorite, while stoking anger over inequality.
Leftist contenders including Boric and Senator Yasna Provoste back greater social services and the dismantling of some aspects of Chile’s economic model, such as its private pensions.
Center-right candidate Sebastian Sichel, who is a former government minister, has said the country’s economic framework should not be scrapped. Conservative contender Kast pledges lower taxes, as well as law and order.
Political uncertainty over elections, coupled with a possible new round of pension fund withdrawals, has pushed the country’s bond yields higher, weakened the peso and hit equities. That’s also deepening the nation’s divergence with neighbor Peru, which is enjoying a respite in market volatility.
The first round of the presidential election will take place on Nov. 21. If no candidate obtains at least 50% of the vote, a run-off will be held on Dec. 19.
The Cadem poll surveyed 1,007 people on Oct. 20-22. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points and a confidence level of 95%. The Criteria survey interviewed 1,118 people on Oct. 18-22.
No outlooks on possible runoff scenarios were reported.
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