Business heir Noboa leading polls ahead of Ecuador vote

By Alexandra Valencia

QUITO (Reuters) – Daniel Noboa, heir to a business fortune, is leading polls ahead of Ecuador’s presidential contest later this month, though his rival Luisa Gonzalez, the protege of a former leftist president, saw rising support, a poll showed on Thursday.

Noboa, son of banana baron Alvaro Noboa, has focused his campaign on job creation, especially for young people, attracting foreign investment and the use of technology to fight a long crime wave.

The 35-year-old was polling at just over 53%, while Gonzalez, who is running for the party of former President Rafael Correa and led the first round of voting, is set to win 46.7% in the vote on Oct. 15, according to polling firm Comunicaliza.

“The debate basically didn’t affect voting intention for Noboa … but it raised support for Gonzalez (+3.3%),” Alvaro Marchante, the head of the pollster wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, referring to a televised debate over the weekend.

The candidates agreed during the debate on the need to beef up security in the Andean country, but differed on how to improve the economy.

Noboa has proposed benefits for companies that hire young people and said he will promote private investment in electricity transmission and oil refining operations.

Gonzalez pledged to boost oil production and reiterated plans to inject $2.5 billion of international reserves into the economy.

Whoever is elected will govern in a shortened term until May 2025, when regularly scheduled elections will take place. This contest was called by current President Guillermo Lasso after he dissolved the legislature to avoid impeachment.

Some 12.4% of those polled have not yet decided who to vote for, while 9.7% said they would turn in blank or null votes.

The survey, conducted this week, included 5,265 people and had a margin of error of 1.35%, Comunicaliza said.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Chris Reese)