April 2, 2006

Nationalist leads Peru poll, 2nd round seen

LIMA, Peru (Reuters) - Nationalist Ollanta Humala held
first place in the race for Peru's presidency, but his support
slipped slightly to 31 percent, a new poll said on Sunday, a
week before the vote, and the election appeared headed for a

Thirty-one percent of voters support Humala, according to
the Apoyo poll published in the newspaper El Comercio, compared
with 33 percent a week earlier. The former army officer remains
well below the 50 percent support he would need on April 9 to
avoid a May run-off with the second-place finisher.

Conservative Lourdes Flores, the investor favorite, was at
26 percent, off from 27 percent. In the race for second and a
place in the second round in May, she was in a statistical dead
heat with Alan Garcia, a former center-left president, whose
support edged up to 23 percent from 22 percent a week earlier.

Several other candidates had single-digit support and many
voters remained undecided.

If there were a second round, the poll said Flores would
defeat Humala by 55 to 45 percent, with 48 percent of Garcia's
support going to Flores, and 25 percent to Humala. It had
Humala narrowly ahead of Garcia in a second round, with Humala
ahead by 51 to 49 percent.

The poll said that 74 percent of voters have decided who
they are voting for, but 11 percent expect to make up their
minds only on the day of the election.

The survey of 2,000 Peruvians was done from March 29-31 and
had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percent.