The next round of elections don't happen in El Salvador until the spring of 2006, but the parties are already jockeying for position and the pollsters are taking the pulse of the voters. The 2006 elections will deputies in the National Assembly and mayors. In a new CID-Gallup poll released this week, the FMLN made some surprising gains. The poll data shows a 9% gain for the FMLN, while ARENA dropped slightly. Still most Salvadorans describe themselves as undecided:
What party would you vote for in the next legislative election?
Party May 2005 Feb. 2005
31% 33% FMLN 21% 12% Other / None / Undecided 48% 55%
The FMLN gains seem somewhat surprising considering the ongoing coverage in the major media of the split in the party between the reformers and the orthodox wing of the party. The same poll shows that President Tony Saca remains popular, but his personal popularity does not necessarily translate to favoritism for his party in next year's elections. In any event, this far ahead of an election, polls in El Salvador are not much use for predicting anything.