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Distance Between Main Candidates Diminishing, Poll Reveals

June 7, 2000
Copyright © 2000 EFE NEWS SERVICE. All Rights Reserved.
Source: World Reporter (TM)

San Juan, Jun 7 (EFE).- Some five months before Puerto Rico 's gubernatorial elections, the popularity gap between the two main candidates has shrunk to six percentage points, a poll released on Wednesday by a local newspaper revealed.

If the elections were held now, opposition Popular Democratic Party (PPD) candidate Sila Calderon would obtain 38 percent of the vote, while ruling New Progressive Party (PNP) candidate Carlos Pesquera would receive 32 percent of the vote, the poll revealed.

The poll also indicated the gap between the two candidates has shrunk since March.

According to the poll, which was conducted from May 12-21 and surveyed 1,000 adults over the age of 18, opposition Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) candidate Ruben Berrios would garner 7 percent of the vote, while the remaining 23 percent said they would not vote, or were undecided.

Calderon's lead has slowly diminished since March, when the last poll was conducted. In March, Calderon (40 percent) had a 10 percentage point lead over Pesquera (30 percent).

Meanwhile, Berrios would gain three points, reaching 7 percent in comparison to the 4 percent he actually received in the 1998 plebiscite, possibly because he spent nearly a year in a restricted section of the U.S. Naval base on Vieques Island, protesting the military's use of the island as a bombing range.

The opposition would also gain the position of Resident Commissioner in Washington, as PPD candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila has 39 percent of the intended vote, followed by PNP candidate Carlos Romero Barcelo with 33 percent and PIP candidate Manuel Rodriguez Orellana with 7 percent.

In the San Juan mayoral elections, PNP candidate Jorge Santini would obtain 48 percent of the vote, followed by PPD candidate Eduardo Bhatia with 31 percent, and PIP candidate Vance Thomas with 2 percent.

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