There is a 92% probability that leading presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador will win the July 1 election, according to an electoral model developed by the newspaper El País.
The prediction is based on a simulation of 20,000 elections in which the four candidates face off against each other and takes into account a collation of opinion poll results.
The model indicates that there is a 7% probability that right-left coalition candidate Ricardo Anaya will triumph and just a 1% chance that the ruling party candidate, José Antonio Meade, will become Mexico’s next president.
The newspaper said the model has a 3.5% margin of error for each candidate.
Based on 16 surveys collated by El País, the Morena party leader widely known as AMLO has an average of 48.2% voter support, while the For Mexico in Front candidate, Anaya, has 27.5% backing.
Meade is in third place with 19.5% support and an average of 2% of those polled said they would vote for independent Jaime “El Bronco” Rodríguez.
In Bloomberg’s May 30 poll tracker — which also collates surveys — López Obrador’s advantage over Anaya is even larger at 27 points, while the latest poll by the newspaper Reforma, published last week, showed a similar result, with AMLO outpolling his nearest rival by a rate of two to one.
In predicting a likely victory by the Together We Will Make History candidate, El País noted that an electoral upset in which the frontrunner gave up a 20-point advantage would not be “normal.”
López Obrador losing the election from his current position would be rarer than Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo missing a penalty kick, the newspaper said.
It also pointed out that AMLO didn’t drop in the polls after either of the two presidential debates despite such forums not being the third-time candidate’s strongest suit.
The four most recent surveys included in the newspaper’s average — Parametria, Reforma, Ipsos and Demotecnia — all showed the frontrunner with more than 50% support.
However, a López Obrador victory is not an out-and-out certainty because “the polls could still move and up to the final day there will be room for a surprise,” El País said.
On the other hand, support for the former Mexico City mayor has consistently trended upwards and his probability of winning has increased by 13 points compared to the newspaper’s March 31 prediction when it said he had a 79% chance of electoral success.
Meade, who is heading a coalition led by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), has struggled to throw off the shackles of being associated with a government that has been plagued by corruption scandals and is led by a deeply unpopular president.
The recent Reforma poll showed that just 20% of respondents approved of Enrique Peña Nieto’s performance.
Meade served as a secretary in three different cabinet posts during the current administration, most recently as secretary of finance.
A strong performance in the second debate in Tijuana two weeks ago failed to lift him out of the doldrums of third place in most polls.
After making up some ground on López Obrador in the previous Reforma poll, Anaya ceded his gain by losing four points in last week’s Reforma poll while AMLO gained four.
Both he and Meade have charged that the election result is not a foregone conclusion because of the number of voters who have indicated that they haven’t yet decided who they will vote for on July 1.
But El País said that abstention rates are high among undecided voters, meaning that the possibility of that cohort harming López Obrador’s chances are less than polls may suggest.
One factor in Anaya’s favor, however, is the support of the business elite, which has largely thrown its support behind the former National Action Party (PAN) president.
Several large businesses, including two that are directed and owned by Mexico’s second and third richest men, have also warned their employees against voting for the leftist frontrunner.
There is also the so-called voto útil — or strategic vote — factor that some analysts believe will boost Anaya’s support because those who would otherwise support Meade may choose to vote for the second-place candidate because they consider him the only candidate capable of defeating López Obrador.
But El País cited a poll by Demotecnia that showed that in a head-to-head contest between Anaya and AMLO, Meade’s votes were shared almost equally between the two candidates.
“In other words, there is a part of the PRI who feels more comfortable with a López Obrador victory than a triumph by the ex-president of the PAN,” the newspaper said.
A large voto útil for Anaya, considering current poll figures, wouldn’t be enough to ensure his victory in any case, El País said.
With that in mind, the prediction by a warlock may be cold comfort for the youngest candidate in the field.
Enrique Marthé Bertón, the Brujo Mayor, or the Grand Warlock, has predicted that Anaya will prevail on July 1. He cited a previous correct prediction — that former Veracruz governor Javier Duarte would be arrested — as evidence that his latest prophecy is foolproof.