Commentary on the Mexican Elections by Mexico Institute Staff and Colleagues

July 3, 2012

For deeper analysis and background on the July 1 elections in Mexico, we have collected selection of insights from Mexico Institute staff and colleagues on the PRI’s rise to power, the prospects for security, economic, and energy policy, the impact on U.S.-Mexico relations and the future of Mexican democracy. This list will be continually updated on the Mexico Institute homepage as more articles are released. We hope you find this collection useful. Please visit The Mexico Institute Election’s Guide and The Mexico Portal for additional coverage, and join us (or watch the webcast) on July 9th at the Woodrow Wilson Center for “Mexico’s 2012 Election in Perspective.” Read the rest of this entry »


Five Take-Aways from the Mexican Election

July 2, 2012

Andrew Selee, The Mexico Institute’s Elections Guide, 7/2/2012


1.- The PRI won decisively but did not get the mandate it wanted.

PRI presidential candidate Enrique Pena Nieto appears to have won the election by around 6%, which is a decisive victory over the other contenders.  However, he only won around 38% of the vote, roughly what President Calderon won in 2006 and far less than most polls prior to the election predicted.  It’s a clear victory but not a resounding one.  Early results appear to suggest that the PRI will have a majority in the lower House but perhaps not in the Senate. Unquestionably a good night for the PRI and for Pena Nieto, but not the knock-out most of the party faithful expected.


2.- The PRD lost the presidency but showed that the Left has mobilizing power.

Most political analysts had left PRD candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for dead at the start of the campaign; he couldn’t seem to even reach 20% in the opinion polls.  All signs are that he finished above 30% and won a significant majority in Mexico City, the country’s political and cultural center, and large pluralities in several other states (including several that were unlikely wins for a leftist candidate, such as Puebla, Quintana Roo, and Tlaxcala).  The PRD won the mayor’s office in Mexico City again with over 60% of the vote, and took the governorship in Morelos and probably Tabasco.  Overall, it wasn’t a bad night for the Mexican Left, even though they lost the biggest prize, and it suggests that the PRD and its allied parties may have more resonance in Mexican society than many analysts believe. Read the rest of this entry »

The Week in Review: 6/25/2012

June 25, 2012

Katie Putnam, The Mexico Institute’s Elections Guide, 6/25/2012

Less than a week remains before the July 1 election: Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI-PVEM) leads by a steady 12 to 16 percent and his party looks likely to claim up to five of the current gubernatorial races. New studies suggest this support is largely due to economic voting, not security concerns, and the candidates and their foreign policy advisors address their policy positions in two sessions. Read the rest of this entry »

Mexico’s 2012 Elections: Key Issues and Critical Questions Now and Beyond

June 18, 2012

Eric L. Olson, The Mexico Institute, 6/18/2012


With mere days before Mexico’s July 1st federal election the country of 114 million, with roughly 77 million eligible voters, is on the cusp of deciding what direction it will take for the next six years and possibly beyond.  An election that just weeks ago appeared settled with a clear frontrunner and little movement in the polls has more recently reflected new dynamics in the race and added an element of uncertainty.

In this context, undecided voters, those on the sidelines and the previously uninvolved have begun to shift election dynamics.  The election has effectively gone from a boring and predictable affair with the only remaining question the margin of victory, to one in which the final election outcome may not be clear, with a modicum of uncertainty injected into the process.  The remaining question is whether momentum and passion will swing decisively to AMLO or Vázquez Mota enabling either to overcome the vaunted organizational capacity of the PRI and Peña Nieto’s commanding lead in the polls.

Whether AMLO or Vázquez Mota emerges as the primary alternative to Peña Nieto will depend in large part on the “second choice preferences” of each candidate’s supporters.   Possibly the biggest challenge for both will be to convince voters to support them as the best alternative to Peña Nieto when their candidate no longer seems violable.  For example, if PAN supporters decide their candidate cannot win, will they vote for Peña Nieto to ensure that the country does not move to the left with AMLO, or will they vote for AMLO because of their historic antipathy to the PRI and refusal to return power to the party they defeated in 2000.  Most polls suggest that PAN voters lean to the PRI as their second choice, and a recent statement from former President Vicente Fox, the first one to defeat the PRI, seemed to call on PAN sympathizers to support the PRI over the PRD and AMLO.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Week in Review: 6/18/2012

June 18, 2012

Katie Putnam, The Mexico Institute’s Elections Guide, 6/18/2012

New polls suggest that the final presidential debate on June 10 did not dramatically alter the electoral landscape, while a series of developments indicate the future of security policy in Mexico. Read the rest of this entry »

The Week in Review: 6/11/2012

June 11, 2012

Katie Putnam, The Mexico Institute’s Elections Guide, 6/11/2012

The second and final debate between the presidential candidates was broadcast, due to popular pressure, on Mexico’s national television stations on June 10. In the event held exactly three weeks before the July 1 election, frontrunner Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI) once again held his own, thereby defending his lead. Observers disagreed on the winners and losers of the debate but most noted that the debate was unlikely to be a game changer in this electoral contest. The battle for second place, however, may be affected. Read the rest of this entry »

The Polls: 6/7/2012

June 7, 2012

Katie Putnam, The Mexico Institute’s Elections Guide, 6/7/2012

[With less than a month remaining before the July 1st elections, we will provide weekly analysis on the standings and trends in the polls.]

The Reforma poll published on May 31 which showed Andrés Manuel López Obrador (PRD) just four points behind Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI) remains an outlier, though three new polls reflect a narrowing of the race between the two candidates to around 14 percent.

Read the rest of this entry »