Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Mock presidential election on campuses predicts clear winner among young voters

Claudia Sheinbaum was the clear winner of a mock presidential election in Mexico held Tuesday at university campuses across the country, suggesting that the ruling Morena party candidate can expect strong support from young voters when the real deal takes place on June 2.

Students and university staff cast a total of 255,707 ballots in the Simulacro Electoral Universitario (SEU), or the University Electoral Simulation, which took place on around 400 campuses in all 32 of Mexico’s federal entities.

An oversized sheet of paper showing results of the Technological University of Southern Mexico State's mock presidential election, showing Claudia Sheinbaum with 109 votes, Jorge Maynez with 63 votes and Xochitl Galvez with 7 votes.
Results of SEU’s mock election at the Technological University of Southern México State mirrored results at several universities across Mexico, with candidate Claudia Sheinbaum achieving a wide lead. (SEU/Twitter)

A spokesperson for the SEU organizers told a press conference on Wednesday that Sheinbaum – a close ally of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and heavy favorite to prevail on June 2 – won 63.5% of the vote, while Jorge Álvarez Máynez, candidate for the Citizens Movement party, attracted the support of 23.1% of participants to finish second.

Xóchitl Gálvez, candidate for an opposition bloc made up of the National Action Party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party and the Democratic Revolution Party, attracted the support of just 8.5% of voters. Just under 5% of the votes cast were invalid.

Álvarez Máynez, who is a distant third in most polls, took to the X social media platform to acknowledge the results of the SEU.

“I feel very grateful to the more than 59,000 university students who voted for me yesterday in the #SimulacroElectoral2024,” he wrote on X.

“In just nine weeks of campaigning, and without dirty money, we’ve managed to ignite the hope of a generation,” Álvarez added.

Young voters are a key cohort in the June 2 elections, at which Mexicans will elect a new president and thousands of other federal, state and municipal representatives.

Two Mexican female college students on campus showing off their thumbs marked with indelible ink, proof that they voted in their university's mock presidential election
Students at the Autonomous University of the Northeast show off their thumbs bearing indelible ink — mimicking how polling stations in real Mexican elections mark a person to show that they have already voted. (SEU/Twitter)

According to the National Electoral Institute, 26.2 million Mexicans aged 18 to 29 are eligible to vote. That figure represents close to 30% of all voters on the electoral roll.

Atabeira Villegas, a sociology student at the Azcapotzalco campus of Mexico City’s Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM), told the news website Animal Político that the mock election was an opportunity to show the three presidential candidates that “the university communities are the strength and engine of this country and deserve to be listened to.”

Arturo Gómez, another UAM student, said that the SEU was an “important activity” because “young people are a vital force for democracy and the [kind of] critical thinking that strengthens the development of the country.”

Animal Político reported that most students it spoke to at several Mexico City university campuses indicated they would vote for “the left” — Claudia Sheinbaum, in other words, in the real presidential election.

“I’m in favor of a woman for president, and obviously, that’s Dr. Claudia Sheinbaum because she is the most qualified,” said a law student identified only as Marín.

“One on side, we have oppression, the old regime: Atenco, Ayotzinapa, Aguas Blancas, 1968, 1971,” he said, referring to massacres in which authorities were involved or allegedly involved.

“On the other side we have a project that has worked, that has taken resources to the people who need them the most,” Marín said, referring to the current government and its welfare and social programs.

“I just want Mexico to do well and to make progress,” said Arturo Gómez, adding that he also wants the presidential candidates to be “authentic” and “help young people.”

“I’ve always considered myself someone who fights, so I’ll vote for the representative of the left this election,” he said.

Another student, Osvaldo de la O, told Animal Político that he believes “we should keep giving the benefit of the doubt” to Morena because it has only been in office for one term and “not a lot can be done” in just six years.

Colleges students voting in Mexico's University Electoral Simulation under outdoor tents with tables and ballot boxes
Students and university staff cast a total of 255,707 ballots in all of Mexico’s 32 states at the Simulacro Electoral Universitario 2024, Mexico’s mock election event where students cast their votes for a presidential candidate. (SEU/X)

“So it’s necessary to see what they can do in 12 years. Claudia Sheinbaum is going to win, but what remains to be seen is how she can improve or fix some of the bad things that the government of [López] Obrador has left,” he said.

Pamela Guevara, a political science student at UAM’s Xochimilco campus and one of the SEU organizers, urged the three presidential candidates to “turn around and look at the young people” of Mexico.

The candidates should listen to the demands of young people and work to meet them, she told the Reforma newspaper. “We deserve to be seen,” Guevara added.

With reports from El Financiero, Reforma and Animal Político

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