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Argentine Political Outlook (Oct-19-15) PDF Imprimir E-Mail
Oct-19-15 - by Rosendo Fraga

1. Less than a week to go before the election, the central question is whether Scioli will reach 40% to avoid the runoff, since today he has more than 10 points ahead of Macri. Four surveys were published over the weekend. The Managment & Fit poll published on daily Clarín gives Scioli 38.3%; Artemio López' published in Perfil gives him 39.6%; the CEOP on Pagina 12 shows a 40.7% lead and the IPSOS also published on Perfil gives him 42%. According to the first two, the ruling coalition candidate would slightly remain below 40%, so a second round would be held whatever the difference was over the second. The other two state otherwise. The Management & Fit surveys gives a difference between Scioli and Macri of 9.1 points, Artemio López shows a difference of 14.4, 12.5 given by CEOP and of 11.8 claimed by IPSOS. Perhaps, it is most likely that Scioli will prevail in the first round on October 25 for five reasons: he is the Government candidate and this is an important advantage to win elections today, not only in Argentina but in all South America; the opposition is divided; it has in its favor a distant runoff, which favors the first minority, that is, winning in the first round; in the open primaries, he obtained a 9-point advantage and usually this grows and does not decline in the definite elections, and in the primaries  he won in 20 of the 24 provinces and 21 of the 25 districts of Greater Buenos Aires. But Cristina has not allowed him to show a differentiation that allows him to capture the independent votes and has a candidate for Governor of Buenos Aires - with whom he shared the rally for the 70th anniversary of October 17 in La Matanza - who reduces his average.

2. As Scioli has failed to dodge the risk of a run-off, the difference between Macri and Massa has shrunk compared to the primaries. According to Management & Fit, the 10 points of the primaries have been reduced to 8.2; as for Artemio López, to only 2.4; in the CEOP survey the reduction is to 6.7 and for IPSOS, to 5.3. This reduction means that in the last three the difference with Scioli is higher than 10 points and consequently with Scioli at 40% there would be no second round. Two reasons can explain this negative outcome for the candidate of Cambiemos. The first is that he failed to properly explain to his voters the impact of the complaint against Niembro, which were added by others, which the ruling party decided not to exploit. The second is that he opted for a moderate speech against the Government, which generated some disappointment among his voters. In the most recent advertisement, he resorted to optimism and hope in the style of Scioli. But in the last days of the campaign he will continue appealing to the "useful vote", arguing rightly that only by voting for him, Scioli will not have a more than 10-point edge to win by 40% in the first round with.

3. Meanwhile Massa will now focus on explaining that while Macri loses the eventual second round with Scioli, he will win it. From this perspective, he will continue appealing to the opposition's "useful vote", arguing that only he can beat the Government candidate, as his most recent advertisement claims. Out of the four polls released this weekend, only one includes the simulation of a runoff, the IPSOS survey in daily Perfil. In the case of a run-off between Scioli and Macri, the first would win by 53.3% over 46.7%. However, in a runoff between the FPV candidate and Massa, the latter would win by 52.6% to 47.4%. All polls published in past weeks stated the same about a runoff. The point is that in a runoff election, while almost all votes for Cambiemos choose Massa over Scioli, the votes for the former are split between the Government candidate and Cambiemos candidate. For this reason, the opposition voter faces two contradictory concepts of "useful vote": whether to vote for Macri to prevent the difference in favour of Scioli from exceeding 10 points, or vote for Massa to reach the eventual runoff and defeat Kirchnerism. The reality is that Massa has managed to successfully resist polarization, has a more accurate and effective speech, that the difference with Macri has shrunk in the past four surveys and election is basically disputed among the three candidates.

4. Out of the eleven provinces that elect Governor in October 25, the most relevant is that of Buenos Aires, because it has almost 40% of the effective votes. The half-dozen polls released in recent weeks about the voting intention for Governor show a disputed election between Aníbal Fernández (FPV) and María Eugenia Vidal (Cambiemos). There is no runoff, so the election will be won that day by a single vote of difference. The third candidate (Sola), and his candidate for President (Massa), resists the polarization and this gives possibilities to the Government candidate, despite the resistance that he has on the public opinion. But the difference in the province in favor of Scioli is important - especially in Greater Buenos Aires- and this can help Fernandez, because cutting ballot papers in this districts is not a majority practice. In the remaining 10 provinces that elect Governor, radical party candidates could win in two (Santa Cruz and Jujuy). As for Congress, it can be projected that the FPV bloc will increase its seats by 2 at the Senate, bringing its majority up to 39 - half is 36 - and that the Cambiemos bloc can approach one-third and that UNA (Massa and De la Sota) can end up with one eighth. It should be noted that one third of the Senate elected in 2009, when the ruling party lost legislative with a third of the votes, is being renewed. For this reason, now with about 40% it can add some seats. The Lower House, on the other hand, renews half in 2015, when Cristina was re-elected with 54%. Scioli now gets about 14 points less, and for this reason, the FPV will lose the majority in the Lower House, although it will be a clear first minority. Cambiemos will have close to one-third and Massa and De la Sota will get approximately one sixth.

5. To conclude:

a) Although Scioli has several advantages in the election, opinion polls show his 40% is not secured to avoid the risk of a runoff, although he seems to have a more than 10-point lead today.

b) In the opposition, the difference between Macri and Massa has been reduced and the former will keep on appealing to the "useful vote" to try expanding it and reduce the lead Scioli has over him today.

c) Massa has managed to successfully resist polarization and considers he has winning chances over Scioli in a runoff election as opposed to Macri.

d) In provincial governments, the UCR candidates are expected to win in only two provinces and, in Buenos Aires, Vidal has winning chances though in a tough context; the difference in favor of Scioli is considerable but the ruling coalition is expected to lose the majority in the Lower House.

 
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