For whom does Piedone play?

For whom does Piedone play?

The Avangarde poll, commissioned and presented by Digi24, conducted face-to-face (which makes it more relevant than the Sociopol research conducted by phone) regarding the start of the battle for the Capital contains several surprises.

Naturally, it would have been expected for Nicușor Dan to be in the first place as the incumbent mayor. This departure from the pole position of the office holder was, in fact, the reason why mayors vehemently opposed the return to two rounds. Well, Nicușor Dan is in second place, with 30%, behind Cristian Popescu Piedone, who has 42%.

It is true that this hierarchy was also presented in the poll commissioned and released by Nicușor Dan himself a few days ago. However, back then the gap was only one percent, now it has significantly increased, which could indicate that the strong grassroots campaign launched by Mr. Piedone has significant effects.


The strength of Cristian Popescu Piedone, as we've previously mentioned briefly: access to fairly broad categories of electorate, some inaccessible to the other candidates, a well-established image in association with local administration, and the fact that he is, as Marius Pieleanu stated, a character. Just like Traian Băsescu and Sorin Oprescu were in their time. And Bucharesters adore characters.

The percentage of the joint PSD-PNL candidate, Cătălin Cîrstoiu, in third place, is not surprising. 16% is natural for a candidate with low notoriety, brought out of the hat, and, at least formally, outside of politics.


If he had started from this percentage a year ago and with a substantial party machinery behind him, he probably would have had a very good chance now. However, with only 72 days left before the elections, the gap is very difficult to overcome.

The favorite comparison is with Traian Băsescu. Even Cătălin Cîrstoiu mentioned at the launch of his candidacy that others started later and went far.

But Traian Băsescu was, as previously mentioned, a character with a completely exceptional political magnetism. Currently, it is hard to say if Mr. Cîrstoiu can have the same dynamics.

It's expected that Mr. Cîrstoiu will increase his percentage, but in the current configuration, it's hard for him to surpass Cristian Popescu Piedone. But what if the latter withdraws?


The Avangarde poll suggests that this wouldn't significantly help Cătălin Cîrstoiu, considering that Piedone's votes would go massively to the AUR candidate, some would return to absenteeism, and the rest would be almost equally divided between Nicușor Dan and Cătălin Cîrstoiu.

If Piedone withdrew, Mr. Cîrstoiu would lose by 12 percentage points against Nicușor Dan.

If the coalition leaders had this analysis on the table, it becomes understandable why there was no effort to timely negotiate Piedone's withdrawal.

In the end, the speculated price, a seat in the European Parliament for his daughter, a candidacy in Sector 5 for his son, and a seat in the parliamentary elections for himself, was not inconceivable for the PSD. What seems inconceivable to me is that Mr. Piedone would not have been willing to make a profitable deal.

But for the PSD-PNL, Piedone is extremely useful. He collects massively from AUR and Șoșoacă, brings in new electorate, takes from both the PSD and PNL electorate almost equally, and has the profile that appeals to Bucharesters.

For Piedone, the explicit refusal of the PSD-PNL to support him is a major advantage. Only this way can he capture the protest vote against the current government.

Therefore, this poll rather confirms the hypothesis that the alliance has two candidates, the formal, assumed, "cleaned" one with whom they can collect very disciplined and pro-European votes.

But they also have the unassumed, rebel candidate, the character, who can collect the protest vote, the anti-system vote of the marginal categories, of the sovereigntists, a candidate with whom any association would harm the overall political image.

In the end, the most important thing is not to lose against AUR or Nicușor Dan. It's not a victory to lose to Piedone, but he can be quickly recovered and transformed into the mayor of the alliance, with popular validation behind.

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