Katie Putnam, The Mexico Institute’s Elections Guide, 4/23/2012
With just over two months left before the July 1st elections, the PRI’s Peña Nieto continues to secure his lead in the presidential contest as the PAN and PRD candidates struggle for second place. Some polls put the PRI-Green Party (PV) alliance ahead in congressional elections, while the PRD’s mayoral candidate leads by a wide margin in the Mexico City race. The polls are not promising for the governing PAN party.
Standings in the presidential race
New polls released in the past week revealed several changes in the electoral contest. First, the PRI’s Enrique Peña Nieto continues to solidify his lead. The Mitofsky polling firm puts his support at 40.2 percent; excluding undecided voters or those that professed no preference, his “effective vote” is nearly 50 percent.
In addition, the PAN’s Josefina Vázquez Mota is struggling to maintain her second-place standing. A new Mileno/GEA-ISA poll shows her trailing the PRD’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador for the first time in the campaign; he garners 19.3 percent support and she polls at 17.9 percent. While the reliability of GEA-ISA polls have been called into question- it produced the (only) poll that showed Vázquez Mota just seven points behind Peña Nieto in February and other contemporary polls show her still ahead of AMLO – this latest poll is consistent with the trend showing that support for the panista has steadily dropped.
While some news stories highlighted López Obrador’s rise to second place, the jostling for second place is not due to an increase in his support; on the contrary, he has polled about the same 17-19 percent for the past three months. Instead, Vázquez Mota’s declining popularity explains their convergence. Thus far, the drop in support for Vázquez Mota candidacy has been accompanied both by a slight rise in undecided voters and a gain for Peña Nieto. These polling results also highlight the dilemma for López Obrador and Vazquez Mota: if one were to drop out of the race, their followers would most likely support Peña Nieto at a slightly higher rate than the remaining opposition candidates.
The congressional contest
The same Mitofsky poll shows that the PRI is on track to sweep the congruent congressional election as well. Including its allied Green Party (PV), the party looks likely to command a majority with 51.3 percent of the seats according to the poll. No party has held a majority since 1997, contributing in large part to the legislative gridlock during three successive presidential administrations. This percentage is the highest figure yet in this campaign.
The Mexico City mayoral contest
The PRD’s Miguel Mancera continues as the frontrunner in the lead-up to the July 1st Mexico City mayoral election. Among decided voters, the Milenio/GEA-ISA poll shows the former attorney general to be 18 points ahead of his closest rival, the PRI’s Beatriz Paredes, with 50.1 percent support compared to her 32.1 percent. Isabel Miranda, the activist-turned-candidate representing the PAN, trails at 16.3 percent. Among all voters, Manerca with 41.1 percent compared to Paredes’ 26.8 percent and Miranda’s 13.3 percent. The PRD has governed the Federal District since mayoral elections were first held in 1997.