Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico’s leftwing candidate, has consolidated his lead ahead of the July 2 presidential election and is now the firm favourite, according to a poll published on Monday.
The poll, published in Mexico’s El Universal daily, shows Mr López Obrador with 42 per cent of the vote. That places him 10 points clear of Felipe Calderón of the centre-right National Action Party (PAN), and an overwhelming 18 points clear of Roberto Madrazo, candidate for the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI).
Mr López Obrador, leader of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), is the only candidate among the leading three that improved on his position from a month earlier. El Universal’s February poll had Mr López on 39 points. By contrast, Mr Calderón and Mr Madrazo were on 34 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively.
“It’s all over,” said Vicente Licona of Indermerc-Harris, a polling company in Mexico City. “Something huge would have to happen in the next four months to stop López Obrador.”
The latest results will come as a blow to many members of Mexico’s business community, who until this month had witnessed with enthusiasm how Mr Calderón of the ruling PAN appeared to be catching Mr López Obrador.
His proposals to reform Mexico’s tax structure and to open the country’s highly protected energy sector to private capital had made him the business elite’s clear choice.
But Daniel Lund of Mund Americas, a polling company and political consultancy, says Mr Calderón’s improvement in public polls was deceiving. “Those polls were coming out at the same time Calderón’s campaign team was holding crisis meetings because the party’s internal polls were showing a fall,” he said.
Most political analysts say that Mr López Obrador’s success has centred on his ability to appeal to the poor. His promises to create a universal pension for all Mexicans over 70, and to defend Pemex, the state oil company, from privatisation, have gone down particularly well among ordinary Mexicans.
Mr Licona said: “Polls are only snapshots. But López Obrador has been ahead for 40 consecutive months now so when you put it all together it begins to look very much like a movie.”