Politics: Voter preferences remain unclear

MEXICO - Report 29 Mar 2021 by Guillermo Valdes and Francisco González

This week candidates can begin campaigning for the June 6 elections at a time when the general context has been trending against the current administration and the partial electoral coalition it is taking into the midterm contests for the lower chamber of Congress. And just in time for the occasion, the most recent quarterly GEA-ISA national survey of registered voters provides us with significant information with which to try to glean how the race is shaping up based on their current opinions as to the economic, political and social state of Mexico and the parties they are leaning toward. With respondents offering increasingly negative appraisals of the state of the economy, and slightly over half of households reporting that the economic crisis and the pandemic have taken a major toll on their family economies, most voters are fully cognizant of the degree of political polarization, in which the key dividing line is whether one supports or opposes President López Obrador.

The poll confirms that voters remain evenly divided over whether to blame the president or global conditions for the current state of the Mexican economy. However, opinion has significantly shifted toward criticizing the government for failing to do more to mitigate the economic crisis, and the percentage that feels AMLO is leading the country in the right direction has plummeted since his election, from 66% to a mere 37%.

In that same period, the president’s approval ratings have proven much more resilient, but the gap between negative and positive opinions has narrowed greatly. At this point, voting intentions continue to favor the parties supporting the president, although they currently draw only about 30% support, not very different from the combined support for the opposition parties. And while it is far too early to make any predictions, we can expect the race to tighten in many of the 300 single-member districts. However, that will largely depend on whether an opposition that has been wrong-footed for the past three years can field competitive candidates and proposals that appear both attractive and credible in the eyes of voters.

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