INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Nicaraguan Presidential Polls -- More Numbers,

Published: Wed 25 Oct 2006 03:54 PM
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FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7989
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
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C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 002366
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DEPT FOR WHA/CEN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/23/2016
TAGS: EAID KDEM NU PGOV PINR PREL
SUBJECT: NICARAGUAN PRESIDENTIAL POLLS -- MORE NUMBERS,
MORE CONFUSION
REF: A. MANAGUA 02338
B. MANAGUA 02225
Classified By: Ambassador Paul A. Trivelli. Reasons 1.4 (B,D).
1. (C) (SBU) SUMMARY: The most recent Nicaraguan
presidential polls still point to the likelihood of a runoff
in the November 5 presidential election. From poll to poll
the candidates have gained and lost percentage points, but
Sandinista Liberation Front (FSLN) candidate Daniel Ortega
has maintained a lead over Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN)
candidate Eduardo Montealegre. Liberal Constitutional Party
(PLC) candidate Jose Rizo and Sandinista Renovation Movement
(MRS) candidate Edmundo Jarquin are in third or forth place
depending on the poll. Two recent polls (with results
obviously manipulated for political purposes) are confusing
potential voters, and possibly increasing the likelihood that
Ortega could win on a first round. END SUMMARY.
THE NUMBERS
- - - - - -
2. (C) Surveys -- intention for presidential vote
Borges y Asociados (IRI poll) released publicly October 24
Daniel Ortega -- 33.9%
Eduardo Montealegre -- 28.8%
Edmundo Jarquin -- 13.8%
Jose Rizo -- 17.2%
Undecided -- 5.8%
CID-Gallup (COSEP poll) released October 20
Daniel Ortega -- 32.5%
Eduardo Montealegre -- 21.1%
Edmundo Jarquin -- 11.8%
Jose Rizo -- 16.8%
Undecided -- 17.8%
Zogby International/University of Miami poll released October
20
Daniel Ortega -- 35%
Eduardo Montealegre -- 20%
Edmundo Jarquin -- 14%
Jose Rizo -- 16%
Undecided -- 15%
3. (C) Surveys with questionable results
Central American University (UCA)
Daniel Ortega -- 37.5%
Eduardo Montealegre -- 17.31%
Edmundo Jarquin -- 12.90%
Jose Rizo -- 20.11%
Undecided -- 11.8%
GCM Corporation (PLC poll)
Daniel Ortega -- 34.27%
Eduardo Montealegre -- 13.60%
Edmundo Jarquin -- 11.10%
Jose Rizo -- 31.70%
Undecided -- 7.21%
THE RESULTS
- - - - - -
4. (C) The latest IRI-sponsored Borges y Asociados poll
(1,400 people polled, 2-2.5% margin of error) shows that it
is still a close race between Ortega (33.9%) and Montealegre
(28.8%), followed by Rizo (17.2%), Jarquin (13.8%) and
Pastora (0.6%). Of the people polled, 5.8% declined to
respond or indicated that they were undecided. Ortega and
Rizo still maintain the highest negative ratings -- when the
respondents were asked "who they would never vote for," 46.1%
indicated Ortega and 28.0% indicated Rizo. Respondents
indicated that they would vote for the deputy candidates of
the competing parties as follows: FSLN (34.3%); ALN (24.8%);
PLC (17.1%); MRS (13.5%). Other results included greater
support for Ortega among respondents ages 30-49 rather than
among youth. Montealegre was stronger with voters ages 16-29
and those 50 and over. According to this poll, a runoff
between Montealegre and Ortega seems the most likely outcome.
However, Ortega is close to the 35% needed to win on the
first round and still maintains a 5% lead over Montealegre.
5. (C) Business chamber umbrella organization COSEP
sponsored a poll conducted by CID-Gallup (less than 2% margin
of error). In the poll, Ortega received 32.5%; Montealegre
21.1 %; Rizo 16.8 %; Jarquin 11.8%; and Pastora less than 1%.
Undecided/no response was high -- around 18%. COSEP signed
a communique endorsing presidential candidate Eduardo
Montealegre, following the release of the poll. In this
latest poll Montealegre,s numbers dropped as did Jarquin,s,
and Rizo,s numbers did not rise significantly. The high
number of undecided voters indicates that they will likely
determine the outcome of the November 5 election.
6. (C) The Zogby International poll recently cited in
several Reuters articles (3.5% margin of error) shows a win
on the first round for Ortega with 35% followed at a distant
second by Montealegre (20%), Rizo (16%) and Jarquin (14%).
The undecided vote is 15 percent. An earlier Zogby poll
conducted September 1-2 showed similar results -- Ortega led
with 24%, followed by Montealegre with 19%.
POLL WARS
- - - - -
7. (C) Besides the reputable polls, several others have been
released with manipulated or falsified results. The
University of Central America (UCA) released a poll showing
Ortega with 37.50% of the vote, followed at a distant second
by Rizo (20.11%), Montealegre (17.31%), Jarquin (12.90%) and
Pastora (1.00%) as part of its "Electoral Forum," which is
also supported by "El Nuevo Diario," Channel 10 Radio Tiempo,
the Chamber of Commerce (CACONIC) and the Danish government
(SEPTEL: Managua 02338). The poll was released during a live
broadcast on FSLN/PLC-leaning Channel 10. After the release
of the poll, several of the survey's "supporters" have
distanced themselves from the results and an Embassy contact
claims that the numbers were manipulated. COMMENT:
According to embassy contacts, there are reasons to believe
that the poll results were manipulated, to advance the
interests of the FSLN-PLC pact, to show that Ortega can win
without fraud on a first round and that Rizo is the only hope
to defeat him.
8. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: Another recent "poll," was
released by the PLC and shows the election going to a second
round with Rizo (31.70%) just slightly behind Ortega
(34.27%). Nicaraguan journalists checked into GCM (the
alleged polling company) and found that it was a facade
organization with vacant offices and no employees to be
found. It appears that the poll was created by the PLC to
show Rizo as the only candidate that can beat Ortega. We
believe that this is the poll the PLC used to convince Oliver
North that Rizo is neck and neck with Ortega, with
Montealegre trailing behind. END COMMENT.
WHERE DOES MONTEALEGRE STAND?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9. (C) COMMENT: While Montealegre,s numbers have
leveled-off or dropped in recent polls (likely in large part
because of Rizo,s increasingly ugly smear campaign against
him, the release of fabricated polls favoring Rizo over
Montealegre, and the parading of Oliver North,s only
slightly veiled endorsement of the PLC), Jarquin,s numbers
also fell, and Rizo,s numbers did not rise significantly.
Montealegre may still be able to reinvigorate his campaign,
however -- several recent developments may strengthen
Montealegre's standing and help him win over the undecided
vote.
10. (C) With COSEP,s formal endorsement of Montealegre,
comes its members, commitment to finance a robust publicity
campaign in favor of Montealegre. Montealegre also recently
met with MRS candidate Edmundo Jarquin, who shared the
results of the latest Greenberg, Quinlan Rosner Research
poll. Reportedly, the Greenberg poll shows Ortega with
around 33% of the vote, followed by Montealegre with around
28%. Montealegre recounted that Jarquin conceded he cannot
defeat Ortega. He agreed to refrain from attacking
Montealegre and direct his energies against the FSLN-PLC pact
and sought Montealegre,s help in persuading the private
sector to support these efforts. According to Montealegre,
ALN and MRS foreign campaign consultants will meet in Managua
this week to determine how to jointly defend the vote on
November 5.
11. (C) Montealegre still has a strong chance of garnering
enough votes to go to a second round. Polls indicate that he
would be the clear winner over Ortega on a second round.
However, the Nicaraguan voter is being inundated with polls,
some reputable and others created or manipulated for
political purposes, which is creating confusion. The most
recent manipulations have been designed to support the pacto
-- increased confusion among the voters will mean more votes
for Rizo and a better chance for an Ortega victory. If
voters opt for Rizo instead of Montealegre, there is a strong
chance that Ortega will win the election on the first round.
END COMMENT.
TRIVELLI
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