With just a year to go until the election that will decide President Enrique Peña Nieto’s successor, things are not looking good for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI): 80% of those polled in a new survey said it was time for a different party to govern Mexico.
The national poll by the Reforma newspaper group found that the party most likely to take the nation’s reins is the leftist National Regeneration Movement known as Morena, led by candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
If an election were held now, the poll found, it would be third time lucky for the Tabasco-born firebrand and the man widely known by his initials AMLO would become Mexico’s new president.
Reforma surveyed 1,200 Mexican adults by telephone between July 13 and 16.
When asked which party they would vote for if a presidential election were held today, respondents showed a clear preference for the AMLO-led Morena with 28% indicating they would vote for the party, down one point from another Reforma poll in January.
In Mexico’s electoral system, where there is no second-round run-off, that would mean López Obrador would become Mexico’s new president.
The right-wing National Action Party (PAN) followed with 23%.
PAN has provided two recent presidents. Vicente Fox broke a 71-year stranglehold on power by the PRI in 2000 and ruled until 2006. His successor, Felipe Calderón, was in power from 2006 to 2012.
The incumbent PRI came in third with 17% while unnamed independent candidates garnered 10% support among those surveyed.
The Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) that López Obrador led in the last two presidential elections languished well behind with just 6% of respondents saying it would be their party of choice.
Apart from Morena, none of the major parties has decided who their presidential candidate will be.
However, the response to another question gave a perhaps even starker indication of the dire predicament faced by the PRI.
When asked whether they thought the party should continue governing the country or that the party of government should change, a resounding 80% of respondents said it should change.
Just 13% indicated that they believed that PRI rule should continue.
The poll also surveyed name and image recognition among voters for 18 potential candidates it proposed, finding that only four were recognized by more than half of those surveyed and none had greater positive than negative images.
Again López Obrador led the way.
Only 13% said that they didn’t know him, making him the most recognizable candidate, with 33% of respondents saying that they had a very good or good opinion of him.
However, that figure was outweighed by 38% who responded that their opinion of him was bad or very bad.
Margarita Zavala, the most favored contender of the PAN and wife of former president Calderón, was the second most recognized potential candidate but only 23% of respondents said they had a very good or good opinion of her compared with 28% who responded bad or very bad.
Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera, who was recently touted as the most favored politician to lead a proposed right wing-left wing PAN-PRD coalition, also had a poor positive to negative differential of 18% and 25%, respectively.
Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, who seems the most likely PRI candidate at this stage, was rated similarly with 15% saying their opinion of him was positive compared to 30% who responded unfavorably.
All other potential candidates proposed by the poll, including PAN national president Ricardo Anaya, Foreign Affairs Secretary Luis Videgaray and Nuevo León Governor Jaime Rodríguez, did not enjoy name recognition by more than half the respondents.
Tellingly, in a variety of hypothetical scenarios proposed with different candidates pitted against each other, López Obrador always came out on top.
That suggests that parties have their work cut out for them to find a candidate who will be competitive against the upstart Morena.
However, the often controversial and divisive Morena leader has led in the polls before to no avail and as always, the biggest challenge for him and his rivals — whoever they may be — is to win the only poll that really counts, that on election day next July.
Mexico News Daily