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Electoral Outlook

One problem PRI is facing in these elections is President Peña Nieto’s bottom low popularity
By The News · 07 of March 2017 08:45:55
President Enrique Peña Nieto gives a speech next to Australia's Governor-General Peter Cosgrove during an official welcoming ceremony at the National Palace in Mexico City August 1, 2016, No available, photo: Reuters/Henry Romero

A political mood that will surely follow through after the upcoming June 4 elections in the states of Coahuila, Nayarit and Mexico (Edo-Mex) has just kicked off. The results in these three states will surely be a preamble to the presidential 2018 election.

Real politick in Mexico says that the 2017 tri-state elections began last Saturday after President Enrique Peña Nieto delivered a pep stumping speech during the 88th anniversary of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), enticing the candidates to stage victorious races.

Of specific importance are the State of Mexico (Edo-Mex) elections for more than the obvious reasons that President Peña was born there and was state governor from 2005 to 2011. Edo-Mex has also been a bastion for support for PRI politicians nationwide and is home to the Atlacomulco Group, a political posse that has ruled the state forever and it enjoys a well based institutional structure.

Thus far there have been two polls, one specifically for Edo-Mex by El Financiero daily newspaper and another one by polling group Buendía&Laredo and Associates (sic) on next year’s presidential elections.

El Financiero’s poll has good numbers for the president’s PRI as its candidate Alfredo del Mazo, in a joint candidacy for the Green Party (PVEM), National Alliance Party (Panal) and Social Encounter Party (PES) is leading the pack with 28 percent of the opinions of those who do intend to vote June 4.

Trailing slightly behind Del Mazo — blood cousin to President Peña Nieto — is National Action Party (PAN) candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota with 26 percent of the intended vote.

In third place is the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) candidate Delfina Gómez who netted 22 percent of the vote and in fourth place appears Juan Zepeda of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and Labor (PT) parties with 17 percent of the intended voters who participated in this initial poll.

Most pundits had Alfredo Del Mazo as the underdog and claimed that the real race would be between lady candidates Josefina and Delfina (not one chance for Zepeda) but that remains to be seen as the election is still three months away and a lot of water will surely flow under the bridge between now and then.

One problem PRI is facing in these elections is President Peña Nieto’s bottom low popularity which is still ranked at 12 percent, according to some, the lowest in history for a president of Mexico, which makes things look pretty bad for next year, whoever the PRI candidate may be.

The president’s popularity was not high at the end of 2016 but plummeted tremendously after he decided to liberate (read increase) the prices of gasoline and diesel last January in a move that provoked irate and destructive violent rampages from citizens during the first week of January 2017.

Since then, the political situation in the nation has been a holey hose for the president as none of the financial or political answer his administration has wrought have satisfied citizens and sets the stage for a bleak future for the PRI.

During his speech Saturda,y Peña Nieto attacked the two leading contending parties (PAN and Morena) one for having brought to Mexico a 12 year economic standstill situation (PAN) and Morena for pushing the nation into “the abyss of demagogic left” policies.

Yet the Buendía&Laredo and Associate results show a scenario the president may not like.
The result of this poll shows that if elections were held today — and such is the discontent against Peña Nieto — PRI would come out third in results showing a vote of revenge against the president’s mandate and the results of his much touted Energy Reform, which shows an 85 percent rejection.

On the contrary, PAN and Morena come up with what’s called in Mexican polling as “a technical draw” (three points above or below) with 23 and 21 percent, respectively, with the president’s PRI running a stiff 10 points behind with only 13 percent of the polled vote.

Indeed for Mexican voters these two elections are of utmost importance but for PRI it’d seem that it is a matter of life and death, as the 88 year old political machinery seems to have run out of gas. But then, that’s what was said in 2000 when it lost its first presidential election.

Yet the fact of the matter is that things don’t look good for the president or his Institutional Revolutionary Party for which everything seems to be a downhill skid.