I have not followed the Ecuador vote closely, but I had the impression, from reports of opinion polls, that it was going to be close. But, PoliBlog notes a report that Rafael Correa appears to have won around 65% in Sunday’s two-candidate runoff for the presidency. 65-35 is not close. This is a surprise. (Update: Greg Weeks reports 57%; that still is not close.)
Why were polls off by so much? I don’t know enough about Ecuadorian politics or polling to know, but if Correa really won around 65% it would be quite a polling failure. Such a result would also be surprising inasmuch as the first round was so fragmented. Correa won only 22.8%, which placed him four percentage points behind the first-round leader, Alvaro Noboa. The third and fourth candidates had 17.5 and 14.8 percent, respectively. That both of these candidates were from nominally leftist parties is presumably key to Correa’s having apparently picked up so much of their support. Even so, the polls did not track that.
Despite the “mandate” of the presidential runoff, governing will not be easy. It never is in Ecuador, where the “fixed term” of the presidency is not to be taken for granted. The unicameral congress that was elected–using open-list PR* in mostly low-magnitude districts–at the same time as the first round of the presidential election will have no single party with even 30% of the vote (and the largest is Noboa’s party). I do not even see Correa’s own alliance (it is not a party) in the alphabet soup of results. The second largest party in congress, with just under a quarter of the seats, will be the Popular Socialist Party, which significantly out-polled its own persidential candidate (who came in third). Rarely have I seen so little correspondence between first-round presidential and PR-congressional voting. I guess that’s why various scholars use Ecuador as a prime example of the “inchoate” or “uninstitutiuonalized” party system.
* The link on the congressional result is to Adam Carr’s site, which gives the preference votes for the elected candidates in each district.
At least I thought this was now an open-list system. But in looking more closely at the votes totals, some of the elected candidates are shown with a “personal vote” that is greater than that of their party. So, now I am confused as to what this electoral system is.