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Mexico Conservative Opposition Leads 2018 Presidential Poll

Mexico's opposition conservatives would take back the presidency from the ruling PRI, if the next election, scheduled for 2018, were held now
By The News · 07 of July 2016 08:16:51
Mexico's President Peña Nieto delivers a toast during the recent Tres Amigos meeting. His PRI party is down in 2018 election polls, , photo: Reuters/Chris Wattie

MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s opposition conservatives would take back the presidency from the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) if the next election, scheduled for 2018, were held now, according to a poll published on Wednesday.

The survey, conducted by Buendía & Laredo, found 24 percent of respondents would vote for the center-right National Action Party (PAN) versus 20 percent who would opt for the PRI, led by President Enrique Peña Nieto. He is constitutionally barred from re-election.

The ruling party has been tarnished by a series of conflict-of-interest scandals embroiling Peña Nieto, his wife and finance minister, slower-than-expected economic growth, grisly drug violence and criticism he has failed to crack down on corruption.

The opinion poll comes about a month after the PAN and leftist allies routed the PRI in regional elections.

In third place in the poll was the National Regeneration Movement (Morena), the left-leaning party of two-time presidential runner-up Andrés Manuel López Obrador, which had the support of 17 percent of respondents. López Obrador’s former party, the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) traditionally the main leftist force in Mexican politics, had just 6 percent support.

“The question is … if PAN will manage to consolidate this support,” said Jorge Buendía, head of the polling firm.

The PRI, which ruled Mexico for 71 consecutive years, was defeated by the PAN in 2000 and regained power when Peña Nieto was elected president in 2012.

The poll, based on 1,438 interviews, was conducted from June 24 to 28 and had a margin of error of 2.95 percentage points.

NATALIE SCHACHAR