Last Sunday was Mexico’s biggest election in history. More than 3 thousand 416 positions were up for grabs, ranging from President of Mexico to thousands of local officials. Left-wing Morena is the big winner of this year as third time was the charm: former Mexico City mayor and party founder, Andrés Manuel López Obrador finally won the presidency and did so in a landslide. But his momentum carried on towards the other elections as his coalition obtained around 62% of the Chamber of Deputies and 53% of the Senate and 5 of the 9 gubernatorial races, including Mexico City, that were up for grabs this day. They exceeded every expectation of their performance and combined with the defeat of the other parties, represents the most significant political realignment in Mexico since 1988.
Mexican presidential results (according to the Preliminary Electoral Results Program (PREP))
Third time was the charm for AMLO
Source: National Electoral Institute
While Morena was the main victor of this election, the center PRI was the great loser. They lost at least the 3 governorships they controlled that were up for election this year, were reduced from being the biggest party in Congress to the fourth with historically low number of seats and they also lost the presidency. No matter what their candidate, José Antonio Meade, attempted, his candidacy never took off. Maimed by the toxicity of president Peña Nieto and the PRI brand, Meade could not overcome the Morena challenge and showcased the PRI’s worst lost in history.
Chamber of Deputies results (according to the PREP)
The Morena coalition (Morena + PT + ES) is very close to supermajority
Source: Own elaboration with data from the National Electoral Institute
Senate results (according to the PREP)
AMLO's coalition (Morena + PT + ES) also controls the Senate
Source: Own elaboration with data from the National Electoral Institute
The other loser from Sunday's election is the Frente coalition. As you may recall, this coalition was built by right-wing PAN and left-wing PRD and Citizens’ Movement Party. It must be noted that the performance of each of these 3 parties is different. While Citizens’ Movement party undoubtedly won by obtaining its first governorship in the state of Jalisco with Enrique Alfaro, the PAN could barely hold on to the states they controlled that were up for election and could never oppose AMLO in the presidential race, and the PRD is but a shadow of what it was before when powerful figures like Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas or López Obrador lead them. The PRD lost 3 of its governorships to Morena (including Mexico City) and got reduced to a small party in Congress.
Governorships by party (starting Sept. 1st, 2018)
AMLO will be the president with less governor support
Source: Own elaboration with data from the National Electoral Institute
Even though Morena was the big winner of the night with the presidency, the majority in Congress, 5 out of 9 governorship races available and holds a majority in 19 out of the 32 states legislatures, AMLO will still face important opposition, particularly through the state governors where his party will control only 5 of the 32 states, making him the President with less governor support in history. The PRI and the PAN will hold each 12 states, while Citizens’ Movement holds Jalisco, Jaime Rodriguez “The Bronco” governs Nuevo Leon and the PRD still holds Michoacán, although technically its governor, Silvano Aureoles, is going to be expelled from the PRD because he supported PRI candidate José Antonio Meade during the election process. However, it will be interesting the dynamics many of these governors will face now that 19 state legislatures have Morena majority opening up the door for within-state opposition, something that had been mostly absent from the Mexican democracy since divided government started appearing in the early 90s.
Election day is in 3 days and today was the last day of the campaigns. From now on, public events are prohibited for all the candidates running for office in this election and all the last election polls are in. Based on that information, left-wing Morena is poised to be the great winner this Sunday. Not only is its presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador a front-runner with a comfortable lead (a 22 percentage point lead in effective vote in the average of the Oraculus.mx “poll of polls” which takes undecided and non-responsive voters out of the sample of each survey) against his closest competition Frente coalition (right-wing PAN, left-wing PRD and Citizens’ Movement Party) candidate, Ricardo Anaya, but it is likely they’ll win 5 out of the 9 governor races this year and be the biggest party in both Chambers of Congress. According to recent polls Berumen, Reforma and El Financiero newspapers, and Consulta Mitofsky, left-wing Morena will definitely win the gubernatorial races of Chiapas, Tabasco, Morelos and crown jewel of Mexico City and may have a real shot in both Puebla and Veracruz. Furthermore, it is estimated the Lopez Obrador’s coalition (left-wing Morena, Maoist-almost-communist Labor Party and Evangelical Social Encounter Party) will have a majority of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies and be in the high 40 percents in the Senate.
Meanwhile, the right-wing PAN will probably remain the second strongest political force in the country with around 20% in both chambers of Congress and around 12 governorships (out of 32), while the incumbent party, the PRI, will probably face a historic defeat in which it will be reduced to around 15% of both chambers of Congress and have around 13 governorships, the least it has controlled in history.
Figure 1 shows the final “poll of polls” data for the presidential race. With this data, Oraculus.mx indicates that AMLO has a higher than 99% of winning the presidency this Sunday.
Figure 1. Final 'Poll of Polls' (up to June 27th, 2018)
Lopez Obrador is poised to win the presidency
The results of this weekend's election may prove to be a paradigm shift in Mexico's political spectrum, but beyond the compelling evidence presented in the multiple election surveys, there is still the sensation that election fraud is possible in the country. Mexico's extensive vote buying and clientelism will be on display this Sunday as all the political parties blur the lines between getting-the-vote-out activities and illegally buying them. Yesterday Tuesday June 26th, two people were arrested in Mexico City that were transporting 20 million pesos in cash (around 1 million US dollars) towards the PRI's headquarters. Furthermore, PRI supporters and members are really confident they will win the Presidential election. It may seem unreasonable boasts of confidence that they have to show in order to not disheartened their supporters, but it may also signal an extensive clientelistic operation for which the PRI has been known for throughout history. It must be noted that not only the PRI incurs in these types of activities, but all parties that control different governments at the state and local level. So even if vote buying is not sufficient to overcome such a big difference in the presidential race, it may be a decisive factor in very contested elections such as the Puebla, Veracruz and Yucatan governor races.
On Monday we'll know what proved to be more important in voters' minds.
Two weeks away from election day, the race has entered a period of scattered attention from Mexican voters. After the final debate last Tuesday June 12th, most people are talking about the soccer World Cup –especially after Mexico’s astonishing victory over favorites-to-win and defending champions Germany. So despite having tons of political ads during the games, they will most likely have a reduced effect as the election is not perceived to be contested. As of today, left-wing candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador is ahead of the polls with 49% of effective voting intentions in Oraculus.mx’s “poll of polls”. This represents a 21 percentage point lead over runner-up Frente (PAN + PRD + Citizens’ Movement Party) candidate Ricardo Anaya and 29 percentage point advantage over incumbent party PRI candidate José Antonio Meade. AMLO sits comfortably at the lead with a 94% probability of winning the presidency.
Figure 1. Poll of Polls (up to June 18th, 2018)
Lopez Obrador’s continues to grow 2 week away from election day
But the main thing that happened last week was the third and final debate where the presidential candidates discussed about their economic platforms through segments that involved education, health, poverty alleviation and sustainable development policies. It was a typical Mexican debate in which there were more attacks between the candidates than actual detailed proposals, but in general it seemed that José Antonio Meade showed more expertise answering the questions and explaining how he would implement solutions, while front-runner AMLO responded saying that corruption was the root of all of the problems and by solving it (through his mere presence in power) his policies would actually have an impact on Mexican wellness. Meanwhile, Ricardo Anaya had to counterattack the accusations made by government and PRI officials that he is corrupt after the leaked video framing him. If you want to hear a much greater explanation of the debate, you can listen to our latest episode of the “Expert Take” podcast where a panel of experts dives into each topic.
The other interesting element that occurred during last week was the big survey from Berumen that was paid by the Mexican Republic Patron Confederation (COPARMEX). This was a massive survey of more than 13 thousand interviews that analyzed each of the main races in this election process. Their results confirmed the standings and overall margins for the presidential race, while also giving further detail into the Congressional elections and the 9 governorship races. With respect to the Congressional races, in the Chamber of Deputies they show that left-wing Morena is headed to be the biggest party with over 40% of the seats. In conjunction with the Labor Party (PT) and the Evangelical Social Encounter Party (PES) which conform AMLO’s coalition, they are set to hold a majority in Congress. Meanwhile in a distant second place will be the right-wing PAN and further down the incumbent party PRI. The complete distribution of lower house seats can be seen in Figure 2.
In the Senate, Morena is also poised to be the biggest party being very close to holding on its own majority. As with the Chamber of Deputies, PAN and PRI are distant second and third places.
Figure 2. Chamber of Deputies seats by party
Lopez Obrador’s coalition has a good chance of having majority
Source: Own elaboration with data from the Coparmex sponsored survey
Figure 3. Senate seats by party
Lopez Obrador will only need a couple of seats to secure a majority
Source: Own elaboration with data from the Coparmex sponsored survey
With respect to the governor races, 6 out of the 9 elections will be won with ample margins, while there are 3 contested elections. Morena party will win the governorships of Chiapas, Mexico City, Morelos and Tabasco, while the PAN will win continue its almost 30 year government in the state of Guanajuato and Citizen’s Movement party will win the state of Jalisco (whose capital is Guadalajara, second most populated city in Mexico). The races in Puebla, Veracruz and Yucatan are still a toss-up where Morena is trying to edge out the PAN in Puebla and Veracruz and the PRI has the lead in Yucatan followed closely by both PAN and Morena. But regardless of how these races turn out, it can be expected that the great winner of this election will be AMLO who is receiving a substantial amount of votes for his party in the most important races.
 The numbers on the Congressional races have raised some eyebrows as they seem to be undercutting some of the small party’s percentages. For example, it seems that Citizen’s Movement party (Movimiento Ciudadano) will most likely have at least the 2 majority rule senators from the state of Jalisco as their governor candidate, Enrique Alfaro, will most likely win the election with ease (as their own survey shows). Based on the fact that Mexicans tend to not divide up their votes, if MC controls the Jalisco governorship, it will most likely also have their 2 senators.
20 days away from election day this race seems decided. Confirming last week’s Reforma and El Financiero newspaper polls, two new polls from Ulises Beltrán and Varela y Asociados were released. The first one has left-wing candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador ahead of the polls with 47% of effective voting intentions. This represents a 18 percentage point lead over runner-up Frente (PAN + PRD + Citizens’ Movement Party) candidate Ricardo Anaya (José Antonio Meade has 21% in that poll). The second poll has AMLO with a 51% of effective voting intentions, 21 percentage points ahead of Ricardo Anaya and 33 percentage points ahead of José Antonio Meade. Incorporating these numbers, in the Oraculus.mx “poll of polls”, AMLO sits at an average of 50% by 27% of Anaya and 23% of Meade. This gives López Obrador a 94% probability of winning the presidency.
Figure 1. Poll of Polls (up to June 11th, 2018)
Lopez Obrador’s margin is bigger than ever 20 days away from election
But even if the first place is almost set in stone a video that surfaced online could alter the voting intentions of the second and third places. Late Thursday June 7th, a video leaked on the internet where a man who is supposedly Juan Barreiro is being asked by a woman with an Argentine accent about business that relates to Frente candidate Ricardo Anaya. Juan Barreiro is Manuel Barreiro’s brother, who was accused of having done dirty business with Ricardo Anaya when the latter was Chief of Staff of the Queretaro governor a decade ago. Earlier this year, the Federal Government used the State’s justice institutions to try and frame Ricardo Anaya of money laundering and embezzlement accusing him of becoming rich through the sale of lands that greatly multiplied their value after the Queretaro government invested in infrastructure nearby. These accusations have not been proven and even the Electoral Tribunal ruled that the Federal Government was interfering in the election with these maneuvers. Nevertheless, the government was never attempting to win a legal battle with Ricardo Anaya, but rather their clash was in the stage of public opinion. To many people, this at least bares the question as to the origin of Ricardo Anaya’s resources. The video leaked last Thursday has the man who is supposed to be Juan Barreiro speaking that that kind of resources have been directed towards the Frente’s campaign.
Is this true? We may never know, but it was the potential of putting the last nail in the coffin of Ricardo Anaya’s campaign and preventing him from having any opportunity to reach AMLO. Will this benefit the PRI candidate José Antonio Meade? Not necessarily, because if the campaign has proven something it is that this election runs around an anti-PRI sentiment so it would not be surprising if AMLO actually benefits from potential lost voters from Anaya that would prefer him rather than the PRI.
Another topic that does not directly concern the presidential campaign but was discussed last week is the fact that there have been 112 assassinated candidates in this election process. People that were running for all sorts of local positions (from mayors to members of the federal congress among others) have been killed showing the complete fragility of Mexico’s justice institutions. In some places of the country, the Rule of Law is inexistent and the impunity with which these murders are happening, signals bad times for democracy in Mexico. If people running for office are killed and nothing happens, it creates very perverse incentives for the kind of people that can run. It would seem that only people linked to criminal activities may run for many positions in a tragic institutional capture by organized crime groups. This is not the first –nor will it be the last –time that candidates in Mexico are killed during the election process, but the sheer number this year should raise concerns about the health of the country’s democracy.
Entering the last month of the campaign, the election seems as decided as ever. A new poll released today by Alejandro Moreno on El Financiero newspaper continued the trend of pollsters over the last week that have found front-runner Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) reaching 50% (or more) on effective preferences in surveys. These polls come on the heels of the backlash that several prominent businessmen received after trying to persuade employees through internal memos from not voting for AMLO arguing that his economic policies could translate to them losing their jobs. In the three main polls released in the last week, AMLO has increased around 4 percentage points while PAN-PRD (Frente) coalition candidate Ricardo Anaya has lost around the same quantity.
During last week, news media outlets got hold of some of the internal memos that were sent to employees of firms controlled by businessmen like Alberto Bailleres (Grupo Peñoles) and Germán Larrea (Grupo México). Bailleres and Larrea are the second and third richest men in Mexico as their conglomerates control a variety of firms such as the Peñoles mines or the Palacio de Hierro department store in the case of the former, and the freight railway firm Ferromex or the Cinemex movie theatre chain for the latter. These two men were part of the original group of 5 businessmen that AMLO accused in late April of conspiring with the government to try and push a second place candidate like Ricardo Anaya to a more competitive spot in the election. All of these men denied the accusations (as well as the government who said they would never support such an idea and even less as it was not their own candidate José Antonio Meade), but in the public image, it doesn’t matter if they were originally negotiating some form of agreement, as to AMLO voters they are part of those “mobs in power” (mafia del poder) that are the reason why Mexico has many problems. In this simplified version of one of the driving narratives of the AMLO campaign, it is easy to see how the memos sent to their employees were heavily criticized as being a desperate attempt at reducing the deficit between AMLO and Anaya as they fear ‘losing their privileges’ instead of a genuine worry about the economic policies furthered by the leading candidate. It is important to note, that to many Mexicans the powerful business tycoons of the country like Bailleres and Larrea are seen as rent-seekers, who benefit from the crony capitalism that their ties to the government allows, instead of being innovative and responsible businessmen that care for the wellbeing of their employees.
With respect to the El Financiero poll, AMLO’s advantage over Ricardo Anaya grew to 26 percentage points (50% for AMLO by 24% for Anaya), with incumbent party PRI candidate José Antonio Meade in close third place with 22%. According to the aggregate summary of the “poll of polls” from Oraculus.mx AMLO has a 48% of voting intentions, for 29% from Anaya and 21% of Meade. Its predictive model gives López Obrador a probability of 94% of winning.
Figure 1. Poll of polls (up to June 4th, 2018)
Lopez Obrador's margin is bigger than ever one month away from election
One month away from election day, the last week of May was dominated with the discussion of something that sprung from the second presidential debate: PRI’s candidate José Antonio Meade’s accusation that proposed proportional representation senator from Morena, Nestora Salgado, should not be allowed to run because she is a criminal.
Meade said during the debate that front-runner Andrés Manuel López Obrador harbors all sorts of shady people in his party like Nestora Salgado, a Mexican woman (with an American citizenship) that was accused in court of kidnapping, killing and extorting people in a small town in the poor state of Guerrero where she was the rural-police commander. Rural-police is a rough translation as these are self-defense police-like groups formed by indigenous people in marginalized communities that have been plagued by organized crime, that in essence are paramilitary groups that in some states have been legalized (as is the case of Guerrero since 2011). Thanks to these laws, the accusations against Nestora Salgado were disregarded by three federal level judges and Mrs. Salgado was freed after being captured by the Mexican army. Now, Morena has her among the top 10 people in their proportional representation list for the Senate. Considering vote intentions for that party, it is likely she will become a Senator (with legal immunity while her term lasts) and the PRI considered using her as a way to relate AMLO with corrupt or criminally charged people. It must be noted, that the National Electoral Institute ordered the PRI to take down a TV spot where they accused Nestora and AMLO of being criminals under the claim of slandering them.
The other topic heavily discussed over the last couple of days is the strength of AMLO’s campaign and the real possibility that he will control both Chambers of Congress. A Consulta Mitofsky poll released on May 24th, showed that in their estimates for both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, AMLO’s coalition is not only prone to be the biggest in Congress, but also possibly having absolute majority (50%+1 of all seats) and the PRI in their historic lows. According to the poll, AMLO’s coalition comprised of Morena, the Labour Party (PT) and the Evangelical Social Encounter Party (PES) could get up to 71 out of 128 Senators and 288 out of 500 Deputies. Meanwhile, the PRI who is currently the biggest party in Congress, would plummet to a maximum of 22 (out of 128) Senators and 62 (out of 500) Deputies. The entire estimates for Senators and Deputies can be seen in the following image property of El Economista newspaper who paid for this poll.
Figure 1. Consulta Mitofsky’s Congress Poll (May 24th, 2018)
Lopez Obrador’s coalition may control both Chambers of Congress
Source: El Economista
With respect to presidential polls, there has been only one new poll after the second debate from Reforma newspaper. In their most recent poll, recurrent collaborator of the Mexico Institute’s “Expert Take” podcast and Reforma’s head pollster, Lorena Becerra, found that AMLO’s lead increased after the debate at the expense of PAN presidential candidate Ricardo Anaya. In that poll, AMLO has a 2-to-1 advantage over Anaya 31 days away from election day.
According to the aggregate summary of the “poll of polls” from Oraculus.mx AMLO has a 46% of voting intentions, for 30% from Anaya and 21% of Meade. Its predictive model gives López Obrador a probability of 92% of winning.
Figure 2. Poll of Polls (up to May 30th, 2018)
Lopez Obrador’s margin remains strong 40 days away from election
By Miguel Toro
On May 20, 2018, the four Mexican presidential candidates held their second of three debates scheduled for this campaign process.
This was an unusual week prior to the debate as Margarita Zavala withdrew her independent candidacy to the presidency on Wednesday, May 16. During a televised debate, Zavala announced she was dropping out of the race, understanding that Mexico was facing a very tough decision this election and this way liberating her supporters to choose whichever option they deemed worthy. She indicated that she would start a civic movement the day after the election to try and recuperate the democratic values that have been lost in Mexican politics.
It must be noted that it is difficult for any independent candidate to win the presidential election in Mexico, because from the start, they face an uphill battle in leveling the playing field in terms of campaign resources and party structure. These are some of the reasons she left the race. The main question that comes out of this situation is who will benefit from Margarita Zavala’s voters? The following weeks will reveal this situation as well as incorporate people’s opinions after the second debate.
As for the debate, it is important to note that this was the first time in history that the National Electoral Institute organized a town-hall format for a debate. It addressed the topics of migration, border security, trade, and the role of Mexico in the world. The four candidates primarily focused on the relationship between Mexico and the United States and how this affects our policies on various issues. However, it was disappointing to hear that it seems that, in the world, there is only one other country and our entire foreign policy resorts to dealing with President Trump. There was very little said about Central America and nothing on Latin America or the rest of the world except for a very brief mention of the renewed free trade agreement with the European Union.
In terms of quality, this debate was an important step back compared to the previous debate, as even though the audience’s questions were good and the moderators were incisive, the four candidates resorted more to platitudes and avoided going in depth on their proposals. There is this feeling that Mexican politicians have disdain towards foreign policy, as they traditionally believe the notion that the best foreign policy is domestic policy.
Nevertheless, they suggested some interesting policies, which are listed below:
With respect to polls, there was only one new poll before the second debate from pollster Ipsos-Bimsa. The trends remain the same, and López Obrador continues to have a large margin. According to the aggregate summary of the “poll of polls” from Oraculus.mx AMLO has a 44% of voting intentions, compared to 29% for Anaya and 20% for Meade.
Figure 1. Poll of Polls (as of May 23, 2018)
By Miguel Toro
The second month of the campaign began with a period of confrontation between front-runner Andrés Manuel López Obrador and some of Mexico’s most powerful business chambers.
During an event with the radio and television chambers (CIRT), AMLO suggested that five of the wealthiest businessmen had been attempting to convince PAN candidate Ricardo Anaya to join, with the government, a secret alliance to defeat him. Both the government and the mentioned businessmen denied this happening and the latter paid for an ad printed in multiple newspapers titled “Not Like This,” where the Mexican Business Council (Consejo Mexicano de Negocios) –a group of the most powerful business leaders in Mexico –complained that AMLO was unfoundedly attacking them. They indicated that it was concerning that the Morena party’s presidential candidate vilifies those who think differently than him. Obviously, this received a response from López Obrador and some of his advisors who said that those businessmen did not represent the entire business community. He also said that the businessmen were attacking him because they were afraid of losing their illegal privileges that allow them to behave like oligopolies and have excessively concentrated markets where their firms were dominant. By the end of the week, the confrontation had somewhat subsided, but the most powerful business leaders seem increasingly distant from the left-wing party’s candidate.
On another front, the incumbent party PRI candidate José Antonio Meade held an event in which he intended to relaunch his campaign. Sitting in third place in all polls, the former secretary of finance has had trouble connecting with voters. Thus, with the substitution of the party president, René Juárez, for Enrique Ochoa, came an attempt to spark enthusiasm among PRI supporters and double efforts to rally the vote. With the release of a book he wrote and his appearance on two television debate programs, he wanted to explain his proposals. Nevertheless, he used significant amounts of time on those shows to attack AMLO instead.
The other three candidates participated in multiple campaign rallies but did not have significant events. For example, Ricardo Anaya campaigned with several of the Frente candidates for governorships. To some pollsters, it is surprising that after his successful first debate, it seems that Anaya’s campaign has wasted the opportunity to further boost his candidacy.
With respect to polls, the first surveys after the debate have been released and Anaya has closed the gap slightly with AMLO. On the aggregate summary of the “poll of polls” from Oraculus.mx, AMLO has a 45% of voting intentions, Anaya has 31%, and Meade has 18%.
Table 1. Summary of Polls Released in 4th Week of Campaigns
Source: Own elaboration with data from the different surveys.
Figure 1. Poll of Polls (as of May 10, 2018)
by Miguel Toro
The last week of the first month of the campaign dealt with the aftermath of the first presidential debate. It seemed that Ricardo Anaya had the best showing in the debate, thus the other candidates focused on trying to win the “post-debate.” Front-runner Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s advisers spent most of the week explaining the meaning of his “amnesty” proposal. They indicated that the amnesty proposal really signifies a peacebuilding process that involves transitional justice. As for José Antonio Meade’s campaign, they doubled down on the accusations of AMLO’s supposed two apartments. That debate actually got AMLO’s attention, who responded that those small apartments were handed over to his sons. However, it seems farfetched to think that this situation could actually do much damage to AMLO’s campaign. Nevertheless, there are still no election polls post-debate, and until then, it will not be clear if the past week had an effect on the race.
With respect to the election polls, as mentioned above, no new surveys have been released so the aggregate summary of the “poll of polls” from Oraculus.mx remains unchanged, with its predictive model still believing López Obrador has a 90 percent chance of winning.
Figure 1. Poll of Polls (as of April 20, 2018
An interesting survey released the week before—but was overshadowed by the presidential polls and the debate news—was the Reforma newspaper survey of the Chamber of Deputies election race. On July 1st, there will be congressional elections in Mexico and both chambers have seats up for election. This survey only reflects effective voting intentions for the Chamber of Deputies but shows the overall strength of the AMLO coalition in the lower house. Based on how electoral laws are written in Mexico (i.e. that there are single-member plurality districts but also proportional representation seats in both chambers), a party (or coalition) who gets around 42 percent of the vote actually gets around absolute majority (50%+1) of congressional seats. Right now, AMLO’s coalition is really close to that threshold and, depending on what happens to the PRD after the election (especially if the Anaya Front loses), the left (Morena, PT, PRD, and maybe even the Citizens’ Movement party) could easily have absolute majority (which is needed to pass bills like the budget every year).
Figure 2. Chamber of Deputies voting preferences by party (April 2018
Source: Own elaboration based on Reforma’s data.
In terms of the campaign events and proposals that occurred last week, the presidential candidates went to the Tecnológico de Monterrey to speak with its students and with bankers in an annual event organized by Citibanamex. In general, they repeated their campaign slogans and main proposals, but there were some interesting developments:
by Miguel Toro
The fourth week of the campaign can be divided into two major happenings: 1.) The difference of opinions on what to do with the new Mexico City Airport project between Carlos Slim (who publicly defended the project based on its positive economic impact in the area) and front-runner Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) (who wants to cancel it based on corruption and excessive cost allegations); and 2.) The first Mexican presidential debate where all the candidates talked about security, corruption, and democracy.
On Monday April 16, Carlos Slim held a news conference in which he explained why he thought the new airport project was crucial for Mexico’s economic development. Later that day, AMLO responded that, if the project was so good, maybe Slim should build it entirely with his own funds and the Mexican government could lease it out to him. However, this confrontation of opinions portrayed AMLO in a negative way throughout mainstream media, as his response reminded people of the typical angry López Obrador response to those who think differently from him.
At the end of the week, the Mexican presidential candidates faced the electorate in the first of three debates scheduled during the campaign. During the April 22nd debate, the candidates had to speak on a combination of subjects, including insecurity, violence, anti-corruption efforts, impunity, democracy, and the rights of vulnerable groups. The debate’s format allowed a more aggressive exchange of ideas between the candidates without solving all of the issues that impede Mexican candidates to adequately confront policy choices. They gave some proposals, they attacked each other, they did not give in-depth explanations of the feasibility of those proposals, they attacked each other again, and they had to answer a couple of questions from the three moderators. An in-depth analysis of what happened during the debate can be heard in the latest episode of the Mexico Institute’s “Expert Take” podcast.
Below is a brief bullet-point summary of the debate:
During the past week, three polls were released showing that AMLO continues to be the front-runner with an average of 43 percent in effective voting intentions compared to 29 percent for Ricardo Anaya, 21 percent for José Antonio Meade, 5 percent for Margarita Zavala and 3 percent for Jaime Rodriguez “El Bronco.” Therefore, Oraculus.mx’s model, based on their poll of polls, continues to give AMLO a 90 percent chance of winning.
Table 1. Summary of Polls Released in 4th Week of Campaign
Figure 1. Poll of Polls (as of April 20, 2018)