The University of Central America's Public Opinion Institute has released a new poll regarding the views of Salvadorans about the upcoming national elections in 2009. The press release with the poll results highlights these conclusions from the study:
- More than half of Salvadorans have little or no trust in the electoral process.
- More than half of the people believe that there will be fraud in the upcoming elections.
- A significant percentage of the citizens consider the economy to have worsened under the existing government.
- The FMLN and Funes maintain their advantage over ARENA and Avila in voters' preferences at the national level.
I think there may be some correlation between the strength of the support for Funes and the FMLN and the number of people who believe there will be fraud in the election. A belief has been expressed in comments on this blog and elsewhere, that ARENA will resort to fraud if it looks like it will lose power and the more likely an ARENA loss in a free and fair election is, the more likely fraud will be. Certainly past experiences in elections in El Salvador and in other countries throughout Latin America provide ample reason for people to be concerned even though the most recent elections in El Salvador have been generally thought to be fair even if not perfect. (By "fair" I simply mean that the votes reported reflected the actual votes cast and that persons of all political affiliations were permitted to vote -- that does not mean that campaign propaganda from ARENA was truthful, that the media was unbiased, or that certain US officials did not put their fingers on the scale to tilt the balance against the FMLN).