When the candidacies were at the start, a wide path of speculation about the possible results opened up. Beyond the value judgments that can be made in this respect and instead of condemning this generalized attitude, it should be considered that it seems inevitable in an atypical electoral process such as the current one. It is unusual not only because of its surprising or unexpected nature, but above all because it occurs in a context where voters have no clear references to guide our voting. This will be an election without political parties and with half of the presidential candidates coming from outside the political arena. It will be, to a large extent, one of those blind elections that present the ideal environment for the victory of emotion over reason.

In any case, these elections are based on some specific factors that largely determine voter preferences or, somewhat pedantically, on splits. Two of them (ideology and regional affiliation) can be considered permanent, and the other two (insecurity and the economic situation) are intermediate. For now, let’s focus on the first, which are expressed in left, center and right positions (or, if you prefer, multi-state or multi-market preferences) and in the territorial identification between voters and candidates, which in Ecuador carries a lot of weight.

If a horizontal line is drawn from left to right and crossed by a vertical line for Sierra and Costa, four quadrants are obtained in which – according to the results of previous elections, own statements and proposals – it is possible to locate each candidate. So in the left quadrant are Yaku Pérez, Luisa González and Bolívar Armijos, in the right Jan Topic and Daniel Noboa, while in the center are Hervas, Villavicencio and Sonnenholzner. Therefore, it can be predicted that a dispute will be organized for voters of certain ideologies in each of these areas. For example, Noboa will have to contend with Topic for the voters of the right, while González will have to do the same with Pérez for those of the left, and the same will happen in the center.

The picture is complicated when the second cleavage, the regional one, is taken into account. Its importance is recognized in the very conformation of binomials, which are inevitably a combination of both areas. In this case, three candidates are located in the Sierra (Pérez, Hervas and Villavicencio) and five on the coast (González, Armijos, Sonnenholzner, Topic and Noboa). Consequently, competition for the voters of the region can also be predicted. So, although González and Topic are situated in antagonistic ideologies, they will hold a contest for the coastal vote, which will include Sonnenholzner, while Pérez will have to do it for the hill vote with Hervas and Villavicencio, who will compete between them.

The panorama becomes more complex, especially for electoral strategies, when it is taken into account that these two contests are taking place at the same time. Candidates are required to take a double tender. Those who manage to cross both the horizontal and vertical lines that define the quadrants will have the best chance. (OR)