Public polling is such an imperfect science. Some polling firms such as Gallup, Harris, Pew Research, Rasmussen, and Zogby do a good job of gauging the sentiment of the people. Others, not so much. The best you can do is look at a lot of polls from different organizations at different times, and identify some patterns and come up with some basic conclusions. The four major presidential polls conducted in Honduras during January-May by CID-Gallup, Le Vote, and Encuestadora Paradigma all showed Xiomara Castro de Zelaya of the Libre Party ahead by a clear margin. We know that Encuestradora Paradigma polled 2,445 people.
All but one of the polls had Liberal Mauricio Villeda last by a significant margin. There’s one pattern for you. Two of the polls had Nationalist Juan Orlando Hernández in second place, while the other two had Salvador Nasralla of the Anti-Corruption Party (PAC) in second. There’s another pattern.
The fact that Mrs. Zelaya consistently polls high, while Mr. Villeda consistently polls low suggests that Mr. Villeda may have a lot of work to do to get his message across and improve his image. That’s one basic conclusion. The fact that Mr. Hernández and Mr. Nasralla have each come in second twice suggests that the real battle right now is for second place. That’s another conclusion.
Toward the end of May, Channel 10 in Honduras conducted a presidential poll. The results had Mr. Villeda on top with 53.13 percent, followed by Romeo Vásquez of the Patriotic Alliance Party with 25 percent, Mr. Hernández with 15.63 percent, Mr. Nasralla with 3.13 percent, and Mrs. Zelaya with 3.13 percent. This poll is widely at odds with the ones by CID-Gallup, Le Vote, and Encuestadora Paradigma, so it raises questions about methodology. But it should still be taken into account.
In early-June, the Tigo cell phone company polled 2,361 of its customers about the presidential race. It asked the question, “At this moment, which of the candidates do you believe has the strongest appeal to the Honduran electorate?” The results showed Mr. Villeda coming out ahead with 54.13 percent, followed by Mr. Hernández with 24.90 percent, Mr. Nasralla with 12.33 percent, Mr. Vásquez with 4.45 percent, and Mrs. Zelaya with 4.19 percent. Interesting, in that Mr. Villeda again polled above 50 percent. Note, however, that we don’t know the methodology used. For example, did Tigo allow its customers to vote multiple times, and were those voting charged a fee each time they voted? On both questions, our assumption would be yes. Does it matter?
Honduras Weekly is now conducting its own presidential poll. We are polling as many different Honduran online social networking sites as possible, as well as our regular audience. We have made a conscious effort to poll sites that have a wide variety of political leans. We began polling on May 29, and we will continue polling for at least a month. A total of 1,701 people have been polled through June 14. Mr. Villeda currently leads with 39.80 percent, followed by Mrs. Zelaya with 35.27 percent, Mr. Nasralla with 11.46 percent, Mr. Hernández with 6.70 percent, Mr. Vásquez with 4.23 percent, Andrés Pavón of the UD-FAPER Party with 0.82 percent, Jorge Aguilar of the PINU Party with 0.76 percent, Orle Solís of the Christian Democrat Party with 0.06 percent, and those who marked “Will not vote” with 0.88 percent.