Analysis of Key Moments

This page provides analysis on the key moments in the lead up the 2012 elections, including state elections, announcements, and more.


The Week in Review: 12/12/2011

Enrique Peña Nieto has a “Rick Perry moment” at a renowned Mexican book fair, the threePAN candidates prepare to formally register for the party’s primary, and Andrés Manuel López Obrador tells supporters he will win in 2012 as he did in 2006. See more…



The Week in Review: 12/5/2011


Humberto Moreira resigns as PRI president over the Coahuila debt scandal, as the PAN candidates debate over security and economic policy. Andrés Manuel López Obrador attempts to soften his image and looks to political survivor Ricardo Monreal to manage his campaign. See more…



The Week in Review: 11/28/2011

Peña Nieto at the Mexico Institute

Manlio Fabio Beltrones has dropped out of the PRI primary, clearing the way for Enrique Peña Nieto’s candidacy. The news comes two weeks after the PRD united behind Andrés Manuel López Obrador on November 16th. The PAN is now the only major party yet to select its candidate, although Josefina Vázquez Mota has emerged as the frontrunner. See more…




The Week in Review:11/21/2011

López Obrador

The PRD selects Andrés Manuel López Obrador as its official candidate, who will lead a now united left. The PRI’s leading contender Enrique Peña Nieto announces his intention to open Pemex to more private investment, and the PAN’s Ernesto Cordero releases a six-point agenda. See more…




The Week in Review: 11/14/2011

All candidates declared victory early on

The PRI emerges victorious from the the close November 13th Michoacán gubernatorial election. Meanwhile, the Mexican government launched an investigation into the helicopter crash that killed Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora and seven others on November 12th. The PRD is set to release the results of the opinion polls conducted to determine its candidate on November 15th, and Enrique Peña Nieto prepares for a visit to Washington, DC. See more…



The Michoacán Election: 11/13/2011

Katie Putnam, The Mexico Institute’s Elections Guide, 11/14/2011

With 99.03 percent of votes counted, the Preliminary Elections Results Program (PREP) declared Fausto Vallejo of the PRI the winner of last night’s Michoacán gubernatorial election. All three candidates for governor had claimed victory on Sunday night, as the front runners appeared to be in a dead heat in polls, but by Monday morning Vallejo was nearly three percentage points ahead of Luisa María Calderón (35.38 to 32.66 percent). The PRD’s Silvano Aureoles trailed with 28.91 percent. The tight election was closely watched as an indicator of next year’s presidential race. See more… 


The Week in Review: 11/7/2011

Vázquez Mota

A new Mitofsky poll suggests the crystallization of support for Josefina Vázquez Mota within the PAN and for Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the PRD, in the midst of the latter’s internal selection process. Regardless of the eventual candidate, however, a new BCG-Excélsior poll suggests the PRI’s Enrique Peña Nieto to still be “without  rival.” The gubernatorial campaign in Michoacán has been marred by violence; in the lead up to next week’s vote (November 13th), a local mayor was killed stumping for front-runner Luisa María Calderón. See more…


The Week in Review: 10/31/2011

Peña Nieto

CSIS features a new profile of Enrique Peña Nieto, the PRD’s quest for party unity continues,Santiago Creel breaks from President Calderón’s security strategy, and the PAN candidate (and the President’s sister) pulls ahead in the lead-up to the November 13th gubernatorial election in Michoacán. See more…



The Week in Review: 10/24/2011

The PAN raises eyebrows with its internal selection process, the PRD’s internal fissures become more visible, and The Financial Times weighs in on Enrique Peña Nieto. See more…




The Week in Review: 10/17/2011 

López Obrador at the Mexico Institute

Candidates have begun to specify their policy agendas: Andrés Manuel López Obrador (PRD) unveiled his security, economic, and social philosophy in Washington, DC at the Mexico Institute this week, Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI) released a ten-point economic plan; andPresident Felipe Calderón (PAN) made controversial statements to the press about security.Josefina Vázquez Mota (PAN) will speak at a Mexico Institute and Inter-American Dialogue event on Friday, October 21st, and several prominent politicians and academics advocated forming a coalition government after the 2012 elections to end Mexico’s political gridlock. See more..


The Week in Review: 10/10/2011 

AMLO in Monterrey

The PRD candidates developed their security and business platforms, as the PRI decided on a February 8th open poll to select its presidential candidate and the PAN approached its own internal selection process. A new poll on the upcoming state election in Michoacánshows the PRI ahead by a significant margin. See more…




The Week in Review: 10/3/2011


Leading presidential contender Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI) answers criticisms of his crime statistics as former PRI leader Beatriz Paredes considers entering the Mexico City mayoral contest. The PAN and PRD face questions on the divisive abortion debate, and Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard (PRD) continues to develop his environmental platform. See more…




The Week in Review: 9/26/2011

Peña Nieto

The field of candidates in each party has narrowed and formalized, as trailing contenders (including the PAN’s Emilio González) drop out of the race and stronger candidates (including the PRI’s Enrique Peña Nieto) officially enter the race. With an increasingly clear field, we turn our focus to the candidate’s standings in the polls and provide links to more information about each candidate. See more…



The Week in Review: 9/19/2011

Eruviel Ávila

The PAN candidates have agreed to a debate, as PRD contender Marcelo Ebrard announces a cabinet shuffle and PRI frontrunner Enrique Peña Nieto’s successor is sworn in in the State of Mexico. The IFE determined its electoral calendar for the upcoming year. See more…




The Week in Review: 9/12/2011  


A new poll shows a clear advantage for Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI), who delivered an important speech this past week, and for Josefina Vázquez Mota (PAN), who along with outgoing Treasury Secretary Ernesto Cordero, has now officially joined the race for the PAN’s nomination. The PRI and PRD each formalized their timelines for deciding their electoral strategies, and the PAN ruled out alliances with the PRI in certain municipalities in the November state elections in Michoacán due to the PRI’s suspected links to organized crime in those areas. See more…



The Week in Review: 9/6/2011

Vázquez Mota

There were several interesting election stories in the past week. Two new polls reflect a shift in PAN candidate preferences, and begin to hint at the headwinds the party faces in public opinion due to the deteriorating security situation. Additionally, a leaked diplomatic cable reveals a U.S. analysis of the PRD’s internal contest, and a movement within the PRD pushes a third, “dark horse” candidate for the nomination. Lastly, the PRI continues to struggle toproject a new modern image while accusations of fiscal mismanagement swirl around the current party president from the time when he was governor of Coahuila. See more…


The Week in Election News: 8/29/2011


There were two stories this past week with potentially large impacts on the 2012 elections. The first was the unfolding scandal and allegations of mishandling of government finances in Coahuila during the time when Humberto Moreira (PRI) was governor. Moreira is now the president of the PRI, a party seeking to shed its image as an old-style, corrupt institution in favor of a party that has transformed itself in time to win elections in 2012.

Secondly, public outrage and calls for government resignations after the horrifying attack on the Casino Royale in Monterrey suggest that President Calderón and his party (PAN) face a difficult political environment as they prepare for the 2012 presidential election, which may turn into a referendum on Calderón’s security policies and frontal assault on organized crime. See more…


The Week in Election News: 8/22/2011

Ebrard and López Obrador

The PRD leadership decided this past weekend in a 12-hour summit that the party’s candidate would be selected by an open poll of party members. The two primary candidates, Marcelo Ebrard and Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), both came out in support of the decision.

The vote will be very interesting. A BGC-Excélsior pollreleased last week showed that while Ebrard polls best amongst the general population by a margin of 69 percent to 31 percent over AMLO, the PRD rank and file favors AMLO: he polls 68 percent, compared to Ebrard’s 32 percent. The question facing PRD members is whether current “electability” numbers should be the principal criteria in deciding on a candidate.

The party also agreed to allow alliances with other parties in the 2012 election, though after the vote, AMLO stated that this should apply only to other left-wing parties. See more…


The Week in Election News: 8/16/2011

Peña Nieto

Most of the candidates in the three major political parties were in the news this past week, using their current positions as a platform for promoting their candidacy.

In the PRI, Enrique Peña Nieto, the outgoing governor of the State of Mexico, reminded voters that he had met one-hundred percent of his campaign promises.

No matter who his competitors are for the PRI nominationManlio Fabio Beltrones, the president of the Mexican Senate, says he will compete for his party’s  presidential nomination. He polls around five percent of PRI supporters, compared with Peña Nieto’s eighty-three percent and above. See more…


The Week in Election News: 8/8/2011

There have been interesting developments in the electoral race in recent weeks, especially within the PAN and PRD parties.

In the PAN, the field of contenders has narrowed. Two of the candidates, Labor Minister Javier Lozano and Social Development MinisterHeriberto Félix, have officially bowed out of the race. Both were polling far behind their party rivals. Lozano had 3.9 percent support amongst PAN members in May 2011, and Félix had polled at 2.7 percent.

Two other candidates have confirmed their intention to continue in the race: Alonso Lujambio, the Minister of Education, and Emilio González Márquez, the Governor of Jalisco, both told journalists they would vie for the nomination. Lujambio alternates with Ernesto Cordero, the Finance Minister, for third place among PAN candidates in opinion polls, whereas Gónzalez has so far polled the lowest among the remaining contenders. See more…


The State of Mexico, Coahuila, and Nayarit Elections: 7/3/2011

The PRI’s Sweep
Eric Olson, AL DÍA, News and Analysis from the Mexico Institute, 7/4/2011

Unofficial results from yesterday’s state elections in Mexico point to a dominant and confident PRI emerging from the first major test of the 2012 presidential election. Early results point to victories for the Institutional Revolutionary Party in three governor’s races, and in elections for mayors in a fourth.

In the most important of the elections, the PRI’s candidate for governor in the State of Mexico, Eruviel Avila, is far ahead of his rivals obtaining just over 62% in preliminary returns from 93% of the state’s 17,498 polling places.  The PRI also maintained control of governorships in the Pacific coast state of Nayarit, and the northern border state of Coahuila, where the brother of current PRI party president maintained the party’s dominance of the state.

The election provided another subtle test of the public’s attitudes towards the PRI – the party that dominated Mexican elections for more than seventy years until it was turned out of the Presidency in 2000 in a move toward greater plurality and a break with the past. The 2012 election will be, in part, a test of the PRI’s ability to rehabilitate itself and convince voters that they have reformed, modernized and hold the keys to a better future for Mexico. Score Round One for the PRI. See more…

The Baja California Sur Election: 2/6/2011

“Another State Election, Another PRI Defeat: What the Results from Baja California Sur Tell Us”
Duncan Wood, Office of the Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2/7/2011

In the second of 2011’s state-level elections, the PAN has secured a significant victory in Baja California Sur. Marcos Covarrubias Villaseñor won more than 40% of the popular vote, beating the PRI into second place (with 33.52%). The PRD had held the governorship of the state since 1999, but its candidate, Luis Armando Díaz, could only win around 20% of the vote and this ended the contest in third place. This is an important victory for the PAN, coming as it does a week after the PRD won Guerrero in an election in which the PAN candidate withdrew from the race to increase the probabilities of PRD victory.

The biggest impact of these two elections, however, will be on the PRI; two elections in 2011, and two defeats. See more…

The Guerrero Election: 1/30/2011

“The Guerrero Gubernatorial Election and the Road to 2012”
Katie Putnam, AL DÍA: News and Analysis from the Mexico Institute, 2/1/2011

The results from Guerrero’s gubernatorial election this Sunday illuminate the personalities and evolving strategies in Mexican politics in the lead-up to the 2012 presidential race.

First, the relatively clean election itself ended a contentious, often dirty, and surprising campaign with questionable front runners. The two principal candidates were reputedcaciques from Guerrero’s darker past; Ángel Aguire Rivero (PRD coalition), a PRI cardholder until August with suspicions of human rights abuses as an interim governor in the late 1990s, beat Acapulco Mayor Manuel Añorve (PRI coalition), accused of being on the payroll of drug cartels. (Both candidates strenuously deny these allegations.)

In any case, the alliance around the PRD was greatly, and unexpectedly, strengthened in the final days of the campaign when the trailing PAN candidate withdrew and threw his support to the coalition. In the end, the PRD coalition, headed by a man the party itself accused of abuses two decades ago, proved more appealing to voters than the PRI alternative, and by a margin of about 14 percent. See more…


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