Friday, April 28, 2006

The Debate Determined the Election

I have said all along that the Mexican Presidential election was too volatile to call. Regardless of the large past leads of AMLO in the polls, I doubted that his support (or that of any other candidate) was solid enough to withstand unfolding events.

Now, there is a clear trend, and I shall predict the next president of Mexico: Felipe Calderon.

In this week's debate, we must consider each candidate: the votes won, the votes lost, and the votes cost other candidates. It is this last aspect that may prove decisive.

Lopez Obrador of the PRD: his no-show won him no votes, and accentuated his weakness. He missed a golden opportunity to clarify the fuzziness, and outline realistic steps for meeting the fantasies of his over-extended promises. Maybe by not putting his foot in his mouth or presenting a visible target (beyond the empty seat) AMLO figured he would minimize the vote loss. However, in the area of vote cost, we see the real damage. The other candidates who won votes did so at AMLO's expense.

Felipe Calderon of the PAN: the best prepared, the most optimistic, and the clear winner according to post-debate polls.

His appearance not only won over some undecideds, but also some of the younger voters who may have been attracted to AMLO's message of progress.

Patricia Mercado of the Alternative Party (aka Social Democrat & Farmer): She was also articulate & optimistic, but much less specific than Calderon. She was probably the only other candidate to win votes by her presentation, and no doubt she stripped them away from AMLO. If you are going to be a progressive, it is better to appear to be optimistic and honest, and she beats AMLO on both of these counts.

Roberto Madrazo of the PRI: He has to be considered the biggest loser of the night. This debate was the last real chance he had to ignite his campaign. The one issue which could have propelled him (competence & experience) was not advanced amid the petty charges and inadequate defenses. When Madrazo goes negative, he looks bad. Even when his negative rhetoric against AMLO is effective, he wins a vote for Calderon, not for himself.

Roberto Campa of the New Alliance: Although much of what he said may have rung true, he looked like more of an anti-Madrazo disgruntled former PRIista than someone with a fresh reframing of the political landscape. He probably won few votes for himself, but cost Madrazo many.

Bottom line: Calderon is heading for victory. The Bolsa (stock market) can smell six more years of stability and prosperity.

Let's see what happens on June 6, the next round.


Blogger joeprehiem6809481598 said...

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4:21 AM  

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