Multinational finance company Goldman Sachs has predicted that Andrés Manuel López Obrador will most likely win the July 1 presidential election.
In a March 23 report entitled “Mexico: Facing 100 Days of Uncertainty and Potential Drama,” the company said that “AMLO’s significant early lead may not be easy to undo in the 100 days until election day, barring a major campaign mistake and/or very poor performance in the three scheduled debates.”
The candidate for the “Together We Will Make History” coalition polled 42% in a recent survey conducted by the newspaper El Financiero, an 18-point advantage over his nearest rival.
In total, the report cited five polls released in March and concluded that “AMLO’s lead seems to be widening and becoming entrenched.”
The leader of the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) “is attracting previously disengaged voters and his support base is extending beyond his original, natural political turf,” it said.
However, the report also recognized that an average of 21% of those polled had not yet made up their minds about who they would vote for.
Under the subheading “An Election Like no Other!” Goldman Sachs said that “the outcome and policy implications of the July 1st elections could be far from ‘business as usual.’”
The elections “will likely change the overall balance of political power,” it said, “and could also herald a shift from the hitherto investment-friendly and conventional policy mix towards a potentially more inward-looking, heterodox, state-centered interventionist platform.”
The outcome of the presidential election and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are the two main sources of uncertainty in Mexico, the report said.
Goldman Sachs recognized that López Obrador was also the frontrunner in the lead-up to the 2006 election — won narrowly by Felipe Calderón — but said that this year a variety of factors may make it more difficult for the other candidates to make up the ground.
They include the length of the campaign, a political fight between López Obrador’s two main rivals, internal friction in Ricardo Anaya’s “For Mexico in Front” coalition, Margarita Zavala’s appearance on the ballot and AMLO’s move towards the mainstream.
The official campaign period — set to start tomorrow — is just three months compared to six in 2016, giving Anaya and Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate José Antonio Meade less time to close the gap.
The two men have engaged in a bitter war of words in recent weeks as they jockey for second place and try to establish themselves as the only competitive option to challenge López Obrador.
Goldman Sachs said that “Anaya has been very vocal in highlighting examples of alleged PRI corruption at the local and federal levels and has promised, if elected, to prosecute corrupt PRI officials.”
The PRI has also been increasingly critical of Anaya, accusing him of being the beneficiary of a money laundering scheme involving a real estate transaction in his home state of Querétaro.
The federal Attorney General’s office has opened an investigation into the case but Anaya has denied all wrongdoing and his team accused the agency of waging a dirty war on behalf of the ruling party.
“Overall, the fierce political battle between the PRI and Mr. Anaya could well weaken both candidates and end up favoring AMLO,” the report said.
It also said that friction in the Anaya-led right-left coalition made up of the National Action Party (PAN), the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and the Citizens’ Movement party (MC) “could weaken Mr. Anaya’s bid.”
“The alliance . . . was agreed at a very high political level and therefore may lack traction and enthusiasm at the local and militant grass-roots levels,” the report charged.
In reference to the candidacy of the former first lady, the report said that “no matter how uncompetitive, Ms. Zavala further divides the anti-AMLO camp and will probably take away votes from Mr. Anaya.”
Goldman Sachs said that “AMLO’s lead may also be protected by the fact that his public statements, and those of some of his top campaign operatives, have become more mainstream and business-friendly.”
It added that the candidate’s “less radical and dogmatic” approach compared to previous elections “could be broadening his acceptance and appeal.”
The July 1 elections are the largest in Mexico’s history. Voters will elect a new president and a completely new Congress of 500 lower house members and 128 senators.
Eight states will also vote for a new governor while Mexico City voters will elect a new mayor and other officials as will almost 1,600 municipalities across the country.
Mexico News Daily