Puerto Rico’s representative to the Federal government and statehood party president is the territory’s most popular candidate for governor by far, according to the first scientific and independent poll for the next elections.
Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi had a commanding lead of 29.5% among eight possible candidates in the Inter-American University survey.
Governor and “Commonwealth” party president Alejandro Garcia Padilla was a distant second with 17% support.
Pierluisi was the top vote getter for all offices in last November’s elections.
Garcia is thought to have lost support by acting contrary to campaign promises, sharply increasing taxes, a very slow start to his administration, and controversial and difficult to understand answers to questions in news conferences and at a U.S. Senate hearing on the territory’s status August 1st.
“Commonwealth” party Senate President Eduardo Bhatia was not far behind Garcia with 14.6%.
And Garcia’s Secretary of State, David Bernier, polled 10.6%.
The results suggested that Garcia could have a hard time winning re-nomination, although neither Bhatia nor Bernier are widely mentioned as likely gubernatorial candidates.
Pierluisi would not have the same challenge in winning the statehood party candidacy. Senator Thomas Rivera Schatz was only the poll’s fifth most-popular possible candidate with 10.5%.
And son of former statehood party Governor Pedro Rossello Ricardo Rossello polled at just 8.5%.
Both Rivera Schatz and Rossello are considered gubernatorial hopefuls.
A “Commonwealth” party leader who is mentioned as having ambitions to move into the governor’s mansion, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin, scored a bare 2.2%.
The predecessor of Garcia as governor and Pierluisi as statehood party president, Luis Fortuno, was picked by 1.5% of those polled. He is thought to not want to run again.
Overall, statehood party possibilities for governor were chosen by 50% of those surveyed. “Commonwealth” party names were selected by only 44.5%.
The likelihood of a statehood party victory in the 2016 voting was underscored by statehooders winning support for resident commissioner of 50.2% of voters surveyed and ‘commonwealthers’ only earning the votes of 44.1%.
Statehood party House of Representatives Minority Leader Jenniffer Gonzalez tied Rossello for the congressional seat with each taking 20.5% of the support.
Bhatia was the most popular ‘commonwealther’ choice with 18%.
Garcia’s predecessor as “Commonwealth” party president, Hector Ferrer, a former House Minority Leader, was not that far behind Bhatia, however. He was picked by 14.6% in the poll.
And Garcia’s losing running mate in the 2012 elections, Rafael Cox Alomar, was chosen by 10.6%.
Statehooder Jose Melendez polled 5.5%.
His support led that of a much more prominent fellow party member, former San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini, who got 3.7% of the votes.
Democratic Committee Chairman Roberto Prats, a ‘commonwealther’ who was defeated for the congressional seat by Fortuno in 2004, ran last in the poll for resident commissioner with .9%.
The university’s survey had a margin of error of 3.1%. Interviews were conducted from August 1st to 10th with 1,550 voters.