World Bulletin / News Desk
Leftist Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has maintained a huge lead over his nearest opposition rival in the run-up to the Feb. 17 elections, recent polls show.
Correa's popularity has remained above 50 percent throughout his six years in office, buoyed by his personal charisma as well as his government's heavy spending on hospitals, roads and schools.
Leading opposition candidate, Guillermo Lasso, has tried to woo voters by promising lower taxes. Lasso, a former banker, has found support among middle-class voters but has failed to sway many others disenchanted with Correa's policies.
A survey released on Thursday by respected pollster Perfiles de Opinion shows Correa winning almost 62 percent of the vote versus 9 percent for Lasso.
"The (opposition) candidates have struggled to put forward attractive campaign proposals to undermine a president that has high popularity rates," said Paulina Recalde, head of Perfiles de Opinion.
Correa also appears to be benefiting from a divided opposition - seven opposition candidates are running in the election - and his party is seen winning a majority of the seats in Congress.
"Correa is winning ... He represents a successful cocktail that combines a good administration and a personality that is perceived as honest, kind, and is concerned about the poor," said Santiago Perez, head of pollster Opinion Publica Ecuador.
Perez's latest poll gives Correa 66 percent support to 15 percent for Lasso.
Ciees, a smaller pollster, puts Correa at 56 percent of the vote, some 36 percentage points more than Lasso.
"Correa has reached a ceiling of between 55 percent and 60 percent. Lasso has also reached his peak ... we're almost sure that Correa will win, unless something very strange happens," said Carlos Coronel, head of research at Ciees.
The polls were carried out during the last two weeks.Last Mod: 08 Şubat 2013, 09:47