Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Latest poll results could be but a blip on the Mexican radar screen – or more

Opinion - March 13 Mitofsky poll may be a glimmer of hope for flailing López Obrador

Yesterday’s Consulta Mitofsky presidential preference poll probably will be viewed by most political observers as of little significance. Mitofsky conducted two polls in February, and both showed PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto with a 16% lead over PAN rival Josefina Vázquez Mota. Yesterday that lead had dropped by two points, to a 14% advantage. In all three polls PRD nominee Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been firmly stuck in the third place quicksand of 17-18%, apparently going nowhere fast.

But there’s more than meets the eye, and it’s not necessarily good news for Mota, as some might believe. Mitofsky reported yesterday that undecided voters in Mexico have increased from 17% to 19% – almost 1 in 5 – in less than 30 days. That two percent rise in fence-straddlers corresponds to most of the combined three percent support that Peña Nieto and Vázquez Mota lost over the same period. Between Feb. 23 and Mar. 13, the PRI nominee fell 2.5% and the PAN candidate dropped .08%%. López Obrador gained .08%. He may have taken those votes from either or both of his opponents, or from neither.

For Enrique Peña Nieto, there is assuredly nothing to cheer about. Either he lost ground to Josefina, or to the undecided camp, or to both. That’s the main problem with being the frontrunner and presumed heir apparent – you have nowhere to go but down. But it’s not really good news for Vázquez Mota, either, since she lost almost a full percentage point of support in just three weeks. Her campaign should be soaring right now – at the expense of Peña Nieto – but instead she was sacked for a loss too, although for shorter yardage. The PAN camp has to be concerned about their nominee bleeding off supporters before the formal campaign even begins (March 30).

Are those undecided voters perhaps silently migrating towards López Obrador? Time will tell. As I’ve said before, a July Surprise is not out of the question, even though most here will tell you that a PRD victory in 2012 is simply impossible. But some said just the same in 2006, when the plain talking country boy from Villahermosa came within .05% of becoming Mexico’s next president. Combining these stats with the fact that 13% of Mexican voters don't even know who the three major candidates are may be a glimmer of hope for AMLO.


Consulta Mitofsky Mar. 13 presidential preference poll:
Peña Nieto slips while López Obrador rises:

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