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09/06/2012 | Mexico - How important is the tactical vote really?

The Economist Staff

LEAVING aside the tiny New Alliance party, which is polling only about 3%, there are three serious candidates in Mexico’s presidential race. Most polls suggest that whereas Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party enjoys a fairly comfortable lead, the battle for second place is close.

 

A couple of weeks ago Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the Party of the Democratic Revolution overtook Josefina Vázquez Mota of the National Action Party (PAN) to become the main rival to Mr Peña. But there is not much in it: a poll today in the Excélsior newspaper, for instance, has the two tied for second place.

In any three-way contest, the battle for second is crucial. The reason is that as soon as a candidate slips into an irrecoverable third place, his or her supporters start to abandon ship. Mr López Obrador and Ms Vázquez are each hoping to push the other down far enough to be able to say that the contest has become a two-way race, and it is time for all those who oppose Mr Peña to join them.

Is that a good strategy? I had always thought so. But at a talk today in honour of Daniel Lund, a late, great observer of the Mexican political scene, there was an interesting dissenting view. Jorge Buendía of Buendía y Laredo, a polling firm, said that tactical second-choice voting was “of very limited impact”. Many polls ask voters who their second-choice candidate would be. The more important question, Mr Buendía said, was how many voters would actually consider changing their vote. The answer, he reckons, is only about 20-25%.

That sounded like plenty to me. But I jotted down the figures, and the impact is not as great as one might think. Let’s suppose that Ms Vázquez becomes the candidate whom voters start to abandon, given that most polls currently show her narrowly in third, on about 24%. If a fifth to a quarter of her supporters bail out, that would put 5%-6% of all voters up for grabs. Polls disagree on how renegade PAN supporters would cast their votes, but let’s imagine that one of the two other candidates proves to be twice as popular as the other one (which is probably generous). One would then get 4% and the other would get 2% —narrowing or widening the gap between Mr Peña and Mr López Obrador by only 2%.

That’s not something to ignore, especially given that the 2006 election was won by less than 1%. If the third-place candidate really collapses, the effect could be much bigger. But it is a useful reminder that, for all the talk of the importance of tactical voting, the phenomenon might end up being slightly less significant than the New Alliance party. And that is really quite small.

The Economist (Reino Unido)

 


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17/01/2009|
11/01/2009|
06/12/2008|
06/12/2008|
06/12/2008|
06/12/2008|
23/11/2008|
23/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
22/08/2008|
22/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
24/05/2008|
24/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
29/04/2008|
11/02/2008|
05/01/2008|
09/12/2007|
18/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/09/2007|
26/08/2007|
25/08/2007|
11/07/2007|
16/06/2007|
16/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
24/04/2007|
24/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
28/02/2007|
28/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
17/11/2006|
30/09/2006|
28/07/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
06/03/2006|
21/02/2006|
17/02/2006|
31/01/2006|
10/01/2006|
28/12/2005|
31/10/2005|
26/09/2005|
29/08/2005|
11/08/2005|
08/08/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|

ver + notas
 
Center for the Study of the Presidency
Freedom House