Juan Manuel Santos (Photo: President's Office)

President Juan Manuel Santos is currently leading all candidates with 25% of the popular vote in Colombia ahead of this May’s presidential elections, according to a new national poll released Sunday. 

Conducted by the Ipsos Naoleon Franco research firm, the poll showed that over a quarter of Colombians would vote “in blank” if the elections were held today, with 23% reportedly undecided.

With 25% of the popular vote, Santos (U Party) is still leading a thickening pack of candidates. His numbers represent a sizable drop, however, from a national Gallup survey released in December, in which the incumbent was said to command 36% of the vote.

MORE: Santos continues rise, adding 8 points in Gallup poll

While Santos is far from being able to win on a first ballot vote, the president is outpacing second-place Oscar Ivan Zuluaga (Democratic Center) by a factor of more than three. Santos’ favorability ratings are also well ahead of all competition, with 12 points separating his 46% from Green Alliance pre-candidate Enrique Peñaloso.

According to the poll, moreover, 50% of voters believe Santos will win reelection, as compared to 40% in November. Santos would currently win a runoff against any of the other candidates, the poll showed, with only 22% of those surveyed reported they would definitely not vote for Santos under any circumstances, down from 35% last fall.

Toward the middle of the table, meanwhile, Peñaloso would join Democratic Pole candidate Clara Lopez with 6% of the vote, trailing Zuluaga by two points. Recent Conservative party nominee Marta Lucia Ramirez trails Peñaloso and Lopez with 4%, while Patriotic Union candidate Aida Avella is polling at 1%, according to the research firm.

The survey also addressed other issues in Colombia.

A reported 58% of the population is against the removal of Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro, who was stripped from office and banned from participating in politics for 15 years by Colombian Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez in December. Only 30% said they agreed with Ordoñez’s decision.

Regarding ongoing peace talks between the FARC rebel group, Colombia’s oldest, and the Colombian government in Havana, Cuba, 58% of Colombians indicated they are pessimistic about the outcome, while 38% said they believed the talks would produce positive results. The poll shows a slow but steady rise in pessimism regarding the peace process in relation to optimism the longer the talks go on.


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