Hipólito Mejía and Danilo Medina continue to battle in a tight race, with neither poised for a first-round victory two months before Election Day. According to a survey conducted for Diario Libre, the Dominican Republic’s largest-circulated daily newspaper, PRD candidate Mejía has a 3-point lead over the ruling PLD’s Medina, 49 to 46 percent.
However among those Dominicans most likely to vote (72 percent of the electorate), the race is in a dead heat with 49 percent apiece. A possible second-round poll, potentially the first in the Dominican Republic in 16 years, remains a statistical tie - among likely voters, 50 percent would support Mejía and 49 percent Medina.
Diario Libre’s Spanish-language story can be found on its website.
- Turnout will be critical, as the winner on May 20 will be decided by who shows up at the polls. Medina, though slightly behind among the overall population, benefits among likely voters. Seventy-seven percent of PLD partisans are likely to vote, while only 69 percent of those who identify with the PRD are likely to vote this May. As result, Medina’s vote share improves as turnout decreases.
- Over the course of the past month, since the last Greenberg-Diario Libre poll, Mejía has seen his personal favorability rating rise among younger Dominicans: 46 percent of those 35 years of age and younger give him a favorable rating, up 5 points from the beginning of March. Mejía has especially improved his rating among young women, among whom his favorability rating is up 12 points from early March. He now wins their vote: 53 percent to Medina’s 43 percent.
- Hipólito Mejía has capitalized on voters’ desire for change. A majority - 53 percent of Dominicans - think the country is headed in the wrong direction. Despite President Leonel Fernandez’s high approval ratings (61 percent approve of the job he has done), there is strong discontent over specific issues, particularly related to security and economic concerns. Fully 88 percent of Dominicans - nearly 9 in 10 - see the drugs and narco-trafficking situation getting worse in the country; a similar share, 87 percent, say delinquency and crime are getting worse. Economic concerns are also sharp: three-quarters of Dominicans say cost of living is getting worse, and 65 percent say the jobs and employment situation is worsening.
- Yet this desire for change is across the board. While most do not see progress on crime and the economy, many recognize improvements in social areas. Fifty-nine percent of Dominicans say education is improving, and 53 percent say health care is getting better. Accordingly, among Medina supporters, one of the best reasons to support the PLD candidate is that he will continue the work of President Fernandez. And many look to his running mate as a sign of this continuity. Medina’s female voters, especially, see her as reason to vote for the PLD candidate. Among women voting for Medina, nearly half (45 percent) say one of the two best reasons to support Danilo Medina is that Margarita Cedeño de Fernandez will be his vice-president.