Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research

Funes Holds Small Lead in El Salvador

March 01, 2009

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - El Salvador’s presidential election could be very close, according to a poll by CID-Gallup. 39 per cent of respondents would vote for Mauricio Funes of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), while 35 per cent would back Rodrigo Ávila of the ruling Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA).

ARENA’s Antonio Saca, a media businessman, was elected in March 2004, garnering 57.73 per cent of the vote. ARENA candidates have won the last four presidential elections in the Central American country. Saca is ineligible for a consecutive term in office.

In September 2007, Funes became the FMLN’s presidential nominee. In March 2008, Ávila, a former National Police chief, won ARENA’s three-candidate internal nationwide primary.

The FMLN was once an umbrella armed group of left-wing revolutionaries fighting against the Salvadoran establishment. In the early 1990s, the FMLN was disbanded and became a legal political party. Funes is the first FMLN presidential candidate with no past as an armed guerrilla member.

The FMLN had a strong showing in the Jan. 18 election to the Legislative Assembly, winning 35 seats. ARENA finished second, with 32 mandates.

On Feb. 21, Funes called for a peaceful election, saying, "Violence does not benefit the parties that are in contention, nor the people who need to feel free to vote without fear."

The presidential ballot will take place on Mar. 15.

Polling Data

Which of these candidates would you vote for in the next presidential election?


Feb. 2009

Nov. 2008

Aug. 2008

Mauricio Funes (FMLN)




Rodrigo Ávila (ARENA)




Other / Undecided




Source: CID-Gallup
Methodology: Interviews with 1,216 Salvadoran adults, conducted from Jan. 27 to Feb. 3, 2009. Margin of error is 2.8 per cent.


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