Sunday, December 3, 2023

Pollsters see electoral costs in government’s handling of coronavirus

The federal government could pay an electoral cost at the 2021 midterm elections if the perception that it has mismanaged the coronavirus crisis grows, some pollsters say.

A survey published by the newspaper El Financiero last week showed that 52% of 410 Mexicans polled believe that the coronavirus situation is out of control.

Since the poll was conducted, Mexico’s Covid-19 death toll has almost doubled from 6,510 on May 21 to 12,545 yesterday.

In a virtual forum organized by El Financiero, the newspaper’s chief pollster Alejandro Moreno suggested that President López Obrador and his administration could suffer the same fate as ex-president Felipe Calderón and his government suffered at the 2009 midterm elections when the swine flu epidemic was in full swing.

“In 2008, in June as well, President Calderón had an approval rating of 64%, four points higher than López Obrador’s rating today. His National Action Party [PAN] had 38% effective voting intention at that time. Today [Lopez Obrador’s] Morena has 37%. Then the epidemic came in 2009, the economic crisis came and the PAN fell 10 points at the elections. Will the same thing happen [with Morena]? I don’t know. I’m just putting the data out there for reflection,” he said.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) attracted 37% of the vote at the midterm elections in 2009 compared to the PAN’s 28%. Three years later, the PRI’s Enrique Peña Nieto triumphed at the 2012 presidential election, winning 38% of votes to López Obrador’s 33%.

Morenos said that if dissatisfaction grows with the current government’s management of the health and economic crisis, “we can expect certain political costs both for the president and his party.”

The chief pollster of the media company Grupo Reforma said that polls show that more than 50% of Mexicans believe that the federal government hasn’t done enough to support vulnerable citizens and small businesses financially amid the economic crisis.

“If they’re already observing this lack of action on the part of the federal government, … sooner or later there will be a price to pay for this inaction,” Lorena Becerra said.

For his part, the director of polling firm Buendía y Laredo predicted that the coronavirus-induced economic crisis will have a significant impact on López Obrador’s approval rating.

As a result, there will be an opportunity for opposition parties to take advantage of his reduced popularity at the 2021 elections, Jorge Buendía said.

However, protest votes against the government for its management of the pandemic and associated economic crisis could be split between the PAN, the PRI and Citizens’ Movement party, he added.

“If that happens, … it won’t be so damaging for Morena … at the midterm elections,” Buendía said.

Source: El Financiero (sp) 

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