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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06MEXICO3035 2006-06-05 19:19:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Mexico
Cable title:  

POLLSTERS SEE PRESIDENTIAL RACE AT "CRITICAL"

Tags:   PGOV MX 
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DE RUEHME #3035 1561919
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R 051919Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1392
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1182
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					  UNCLAS MEXICO 003035 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

EO 12598:NA
TAGS: PGOV MX
SUBJECT: POLLSTERS SEE PRESIDENTIAL RACE AT "CRITICAL"
POINT

REF: Mexico 1002



1. (SBU) Summary: The Ambassador again convened four
pollsters (reftel) who concurred that Democratic Revolution
(PRD) candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) and
National Action Party (PAN) candidate Felipe Calderon were
virtually tied, making this a critical moment for the
campaign. While it might be hard to "win" next week's
debate, all agreed that a serious error by either leading
contender could be maximized by his opponent. They also
anticipated that additional "scandals" might come out in the
course of the month. Absent any new political events, the
final month of the campaign would depend on strategies and
media "spots." Three out of four pollsters present, when
pressed, gave the margin to AMLO on election day if the two
candidates are still in a virtual tie by then. End Summary.

Discounting the Institutional Revolution Party (PRI)



2. (SBU) The Ambassador, accompanied by POL and PAS, met
for the second time 6/1 with leading pollsters Rafael
Jimenez (ARCOP for the PAN), Ana Cristina Covarrubias (Pulso
for the PRD), Francisco Abundis (Parametria and Channel 40
commentator) and Roy Campos (Consulta Mitofsky and Televisa
pollster). During the usual lively discussion certain
points of agreement emerged:

-- the four agreed the two leading candidates, AMLO and
Calderon, were virtually tied.

-- the four agreed that the PRI no longer figured
realistically in the presidential race, although it would
still remain important in congressional and local races.

-- the four agreed that next week's debate importance would
be determined by how the campaigns used it in follow-on
strategies. For example, the PAN had effectively promoted
the perception that Calderon had "won" the April debate in
follow-on ads, while at the same time the PRI had stressed
AMLO's failure to participate. Both messages resonated with
the public primarily because of the PRI and PAN follow-on
ads, according to the pollsters. While it was probable no
one would "win" the debate outright, it was very possible
someone would make a mistake that the others would magnify
in subsequent "spots."

Factors That Could Affect the Polls



3. (SBU) Rafael Jimenez said this was a "critical" point
for the election because of the technical tie between the
candidates. It would come down to who had the most
effective campaign strategy -- and who could turn out the
vote. Abundis suggested, and the others agreed, that
outside of the debate, June would likely also bring out
whatever videoscandals or other derogatory surprises the
campaigns could uncover. Finally, there was inconclusive
discussion of the impact the World Cup would have on the
candidates and voter turnout. Mitofsky and Jimenez
suggested the PAN would benefit if the Mexico team did
unexpectedly well. All agreed that a peripheral benefit of
the increased television viewing during the games was that
more people would see the campaign ads. There was no
consensus on whether or how the World Cup might affect voter
turn-out, which those present estimated would be 50-60
percent.

AMLO Has the Edge



4. (SBU) When pressed, the four pollsters gave highly-
caveated guesses regarding the final outcome. Three of the
four suggested that if Calderon and AMLO were neck-and-neck
going into election day, probably AMLO would have the edge.
Reasons ranged from the fervor of his support to his
qualities as a candidate to a sense that change was needed.
Not surprisingly, PAN pollster Jimenez came out firmly for
Calderon.

Garza