According to the La Silla Vacía website, the firm that conducted the survey is led by Spaniard Sergio Pascual, “his foreign campaign guru.”
Through his Twitter account, Petro made a public call to the press pointing out, “This poll was very publicized by the press when Fajardo won; now that I won it, will they publish it?”
Esta encuesta fue muy publicitada por la prensa cuando ganaba Fajardo, ahora que la gano, la publicarán?
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) April 2, 2018
The Latin American Geopolitical Strategic Center (Celag) was the firm conducting the poll between February 22 and March 10. It concluded just a day before the legislative elections and the primary elections, which featured the candidates of the center-right coalition Iván Duque, Martha Lucía Ramírez, and Alejandro Ordóñez on the one hand, and the left-wing matchup between Gustavo Petro and Carlos Caicedo on the other.
What Petro ignores is that at least five important polls had already been published that queried voters about the candidates after the release of the Celag poll. These polls greatly diverged from Celag’s “results.”
The Celag poll had a sample of 2,500 people and included 20 of Colombia’s 32 states.
“The increase in interest is evident in a greater name recognition for all of the candidates. This is particularly true for Iván Duque, who goes from 40% name recognition in February to 67%, and Gustavo Petro, who goes from 71% to 88%,” indicate the results.
According to the survey, Petro experienced a very important increase in support, going from 17.6% to 22.9%, positioning himself as the leading candidate. Meanwhile, Iván Duque, who has led the last five opinion polls, came in second, at 18%.
According to Alejandro Caruso, coordinator of Public Opinion of Celag, the results of that survey constitute “a shift in voter opinion and Colombian political life” in favor of Petro.
A desperate moment for Petro
In the opinion of the political analyst Santiago Rosales, Petro’s publication of this survey and the call for media coverage of the results are a sign of his flailing campaign, and the poll and the organization conducting it have a clear pro-Petro bias.
“Petro hopes to be viewed positively by the Colombian electorate, but this type of action once again delegitimizes his campaign. This type of practice validates the feelings of citizens who view Petro as a problematic candidate,” he said.
Celag, the far-left think tank posing as a pollster
The Spaniard Sergio Pascual Peña is one of the five creators of the think tank and is a member of the left-wing party Podemos. He recently came to Colombia to advise Petro in the final stretch of the campaign, with first-round elections slated for May 27.
It should be noted that Celag is not a pollster, but a far left-wing think tank that serves as a propaganda organ for chavismo. They offer up articles titled, “Chavismo is the majority in Venezuela”, “The evidence of the economic crime against Venezuela”, intended to make a strong defense of the Venezuelan regime’s economic policies and police state.
In the same way, Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador, Juan Carlos Monedero, Spanish Socialist, Delcy Rodríguez; President of the Constituent Assembly of Nicolás Maduro, Alfredo Serrano Mancilla, the so-called “Christ of the Economy” of Chávez, Simón Zerpa; financial vice president of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) are part of the advisory board of that organization.