One Week Out, Danilo Medina Pulls to Single-Digit Lead in Dominican Republic Presidential Race


diario libre

Heading into the final week of the Dominican Republic presidential campaign, the governing PLD’s Danilo Medina emerges with a slight lead over former president and PRD opponent Hipólito Mejía. The latest survey from Diario Libre, the Dominican Republic’s largest-circulated daily newspaper, shows Medina with a slim majority of 51 percent of the vote - 5 points over Mejía’s 46 percent vote share. Among those Dominicans most likely to vote (72 percent of the electorate), both candidates inch upwards, with 52 percent for Medina and 47 for Mejía.

Yet Medina is far from assured a first round victory on May 20 (should neither candidate surpass the 50 percent-mark, a run-off election will be necessary).   Nearly 10 percent of the electorate may still change its mind, and survey data indicates that young women will likely play a large role in deciding the next president.  Should a second round be necessary, the vote looks identical (51-46) to the first round given that most parties have endorsed either the PLD or PRD party candidate.

Diario Libre’s Spanish-language story can be found on theirwebsite.

Key Findings

  • Demographically, the race is marked by a significant gender gap between the PLD and the PRD.  Medina has an 18-point lead among women, while Mejía is up 8 points among men.  Medina is stronger among higher educated Dominicans, winning the vote of the university-educated by 16 points; among those with primary and secondary education, the vote remains statistically tied.
  • The survey data suggests that Danilo Medina has been able to capitalize on increased support for current president Leonel Fernandez.  Fernandez’s favorability rating has grown by 4 points since the last Diario Libre-Greenberg Quinlan Rosner survey was conducted in late March, and his approval rating is up 5 points to 66 percent approval.  Among current Medina voters, a majority - 50 percent - say the best reason to support Medina is that he will continue the good works of Fernandez.
  • Medina also see improvement in his own ratings.  A plurality of Dominicans give the PLD candidate a favorable rating (47 percent), up 4 points from late March.  And more voters think Medina will do a better job at handling specific issues: a majority - 53 percent - say Medina would do a better job at handling the economy, a 5-point increase for Medina since Diario Libre-Greenberg Quinlan Rosner’s early March poll and 9 points higher than the share that say Mejía would do a better job on the economy.
  • Much of Medina’s growth is driven by younger women.  In fact, women under the age of 35 emerge as a key constituency in this race   In late March, women under 35 gave Mejía a 10-point advantage - 5 weeks later their vote swings strongly in Medina’s favor and back to early March levels.  The vote among younger men, as well as those over 35, has remained stable.
  • Medina’s running mate, Margarita Cedeño de Fernandez, has also helped bring these women back to the PLD.  Cedeño de Fernandez has higher favorability ratings than the two presidential candidates, with a majority (54 percent) giving her a favorable rating.  Among the coveted younger women, fully 64 percent give the first lady a favorable rating - 15 points higher than ratings for both Leonel Fernandez and Danilo Medina, and 31 points higher than the amount that give Mejía a favorable rating.

Methodology

The survey was conducted May 2 through 7 through face-to-face interviews.  One thousand and twenty-two Dominican adults were interviews, of whom 737 were identified as likely voters (representing 72 percent of the electorate).  The margin of error on truly random samples of 1,022 and 737 are plus or minus 3.1 and 3.6 percent, respectively, at confidence intervals of 95 percent.

Written by GQR Vice President and Director of the Latin American office Ana Iparraguirre and Senior Associate Jessica Reis for Diario Libre.

Read the full memo: DR Polling Memo