Presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s lead over his nearest rival has narrowed in two new opinion polls, suggesting that the race could get even closer as the July 1 election approaches.
In a GEA-ISA survey published yesterday, the Morena Party leader’s advantage over Ricardo Anaya, the candidate for the right-left “For Mexico in Front” coalition, was reduced to just five points, one point less than its previous poll in mid-March.
López Obrador’s support rose by one point to 29%, while Anaya gained two points to reach 24%.
The candidate for the coalition led by the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), José Antonio Meade, was in third place with an unchanged 20% backing, placing him far closer to the two leading candidates than other polls have indicated.
GEA-ISA has been showing a much closer contest than other pollsters but the narrowing gap between the two leading candidates in its latest result is consistent with the latest poll conducted by the newspaper Reforma, in which Anaya also gained on López Obrador.
However, the Reforma poll showed that the third-time presidential hopeful widely known as AMLO maintained a commanding 18-point lead. Paremetría’s latest poll also showed Anaya gaining ground although he still trailed the frontrunner by 14 points.
The GEA-ISA poll was conducted between April 28 and 30, a week after the first presidential debate in which Anaya performed strongly and made repeated attacks on López Obrador.
Unlike many other surveys, the GEA-ISA poll didn’t strip out undecided voters, who accounted for 21% of all respondents.
Bloomberg’s latest poll tracker — which collates surveys using a system that awards higher weightings for past accuracy, poll size and margin of error — also shows that the race has tightened, although López Obrador still maintains a comfortable lead over Anaya — almost 14 points.
AMLO has 44.9% support, according to the May 7 tracker update, while the former National Action Party (PAN) president has 31.1%.
Meade, a former cabinet secretary in both the current and previous federal administrations, languishes in third place with just 18% backing.
The two independents, Margarita Zavala and Jaime “El Bronco” Rodríguez, have just 3% and 2.5% support respectively.
López Obrador’s poll tracker advantage over Anaya peaked last month at 21 points.
According to political risk consultancy Empra, the “For Mexico in Front” candidate will likely continue to close the gap as opposition to the leftist candidate consolidates behind him.
In the April 22 debate, Anaya sold himself as the only viable alternative to the “Together We Will Make History” coalition candidate.
However, Empra’s CEO is less confident that Anaya will be able to make up all of the ground.
“If people perceive that López Obrador really isn’t going to be good for the country’s economy, that jobs will be lost and they start worrying about this, there is a window of opportunity [but] I don’t know if this will be enough for Anaya . . . but the election isn’t yet sealed,” Alejandro Schtulmann said.
In contrast to the four recent polls which show a close contest could be in the cards, a survey conducted last month by a group of University of California researchers showed that López Obrador is a clear-cut favorite among potential voters who live in the United States.
Based on nationwide interviews with 662 Mexican-American adults who are eligible to vote in the July 1 election, the poll found 29% supported AMLO compared to just 6% who said they would vote for Anaya.
Zavala, the wife of former president Felipe Calderón, leapfrogged Meade into third place with 5.5% support, leaving the PRI candidate with a humiliating 3%.
However, one-third of potential voters polled between April 15 and 21 — prior to the first debate — were undecided. External voting is expected to reach record levels this year due to a major expansion of voter registration abroad.
Among the U.S.-based poll respondents who said that they had already registered, support for AMLO was even higher at 40%, five times higher than the 8% who said they intended to cast their vote for Anaya.
The second presidential debate will take place in Tijuana on May 20 and focus on border security, foreign policy and immigration.