An AP story describes a new opinion poll finding that the leading candidates for president in El Salvador, Rodrigo Avila of ARENA and Mauricio Funes of the FMLN are tied, suggesting a post-January elections bounce for Avila:
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- El Salvador's presidential race has tightened, with the leading candidates in a virtual tie and likely facing a runoff election, according to a poll released Friday.
Mauricio Funes, a TV journalist who would become the first leftist president of El Salvador since the country's bloody civil war, had about 50 percent support in other previous polls. Now he has 38 percent, compared to 35 percent for Rodrigo Avila of the ruling conservative Arena party, according to Consulta Mitofsky.
The survey had a margin of error of 2 percentage points, meaning it is possible that Funes could be trailing slightly.
Funes represents the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, a guerrilla group-turned-political party.
Other respondents preferred different candidates, were undecided or declined to say how they would vote on March 15.
Consulta Mitofsky, an independent pollster based in Mexico, questioned 1,200 likely voters face to face from Jan. 23-25 in 60 of El Salvador's 262 municipalities.
Mitofsky polls typically show greater strength for ARENA than other opinion polls in El Salvador, and some have criticized the polling as being done by telephone from Mexico.
A new poll released by La Prensa Grafica on February 1, showed Funes leading Avila 39% to 29%, suggesting continued strength for the FMLN's candidate.