Polls Sway The Vote in Mexico

Tony Abdo aabdo at SPAMwebtv.net
Thu Jun 22 03:40:59 MDT 2000

Ten days to the stamp of authenticity for Mexico's ''New Democracy''.
Jimmy Carter, Eduardo Frei, and Ann Richardson (Governor of Texas before
she was slaughtered by Bush) will all be on board as election observers.
How could there be fraud?

Mexico is swelling up with excitement as it is becoming apparent that
the PRI has thrown this one.      It is official, votes against the PRI
for the Right opposition candidate,  Vicente Fox, will be correctly

To make sure that the populace got the message that PRI wanted to throw
this one, rather than steal it, their presidential candidate went out
and solicited a song from Juan Gabriel, a very talented and gay singer.

Al, you might want to try getting Little Richard to go all out on the
campaign for you?       Great strategy for a close race!    Akin to,  if
Jimmy Carter had gotten Liberace to serenade his support, way back in

In all seriousness, one has to question if Labastida was seriously
trying to win with this strategy.    What?   Labastida is for
''alternancia'' also?       Well, yes, it appears that way.

To add to the comedy, one only has to study a few of the polls.       My
favorite of the two is the Zogby/ Reuters poll that states a close race,
accuracy of being within 3% plus or minus, and Labastida ahead with
Cardenas out of the picture altogether in the teens (hint, hint.....he's
not acceptable).

But here's the kicker, how do you state accuracy of knowing who the
public is supporting,  when 38.2 % tell your pollers to take a hike?
Oh, I'm sorry, they're undecided yet!        Study Zogby,  and then

The other poll, taken for the Fox crowd... says that Fox has it wrapped
up (hint, hint..... want PRI out, join the stampede, Cardenistas........
vote Fox).

The interesting thing is how ''democracy '' seems to only exist, if
Mexico's PRI government allows all this shenanigans to go on.      It
would be fraud if they didn't?

The US model for elections is a sure sign of trouble for Mexico ahead.
The ''two party'' system should become about as successful as it has
been for Colombia.     But even that appears great if you're a country
that's had 71 years of PRI dictatorship.

Still, to think that the new ''democracy'' would begin in such a coarse
and ludicrous style?     But then again, maybe Mexico hasn't seen
anything yet.       If the elite there keeps following US advice, they
might end up like Russia.

Tony Abdo

By Alfredo Corchado and Laurence Iliff / The Dallas Morning News

MEXICO CITY – A former longtime pollster for Mexico's ruling party
says her latest poll indicates a big victory for opposition presidential
candidate Vicente Fox.

The national survey by Maria de las Heras goes sharply against the
conventional wisdom that the race is neck-and-neck between Mr. Fox and
ruling party candidate Francisco Labastida, both of whom cite internal
and independent polls giving them an advantage.

Ms. de las Heras' survey projects Mr. Fox winning by 10 percentage
points. The poll was commissioned by a group of Mexican investors, she
said, and not by the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
"The race is simply not as competitive as people say," she said. "What I
have discovered is that this is not the Mexico that we once knew. The
country has moved away from the PRI."

The now-independent pollster said her poll indicates that Mr. Fox of the
center-right National Action Party received the support of 44 percent of
those surveyed, compared with 34 percent for Mr. Labastida. Leftist
candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas received 16 percent, and two minor
candidates got the rest.

Results questioned
The PRI immediately questioned the accuracy of the poll by Ms. de las
Heras' Demotecnia polling firm.

"That's unbelievable. It has nothing to do with reality," said Javier
Treviño, a top aide to Mr. Labastida. "What is important to look at is
not a particular poll, but trends, and what we have seen is that
Francisco Labastida is rising."

Democracy advocates say that the results of the Demotecnia poll –
which indicate that the presidential race may not be as close as
expected – shouldn't be particularly surprising. Some charge that
Mexican media are afraid to publish any surveys showing Mr. Fox ahead
for fear of angering the powerful ruling party and jeopardizing
lucrative advertising.

"This is very suspicious," said political analyst José Antonio Crespo.
"Why is it that polls showing Fox ahead have such trouble being made

"Obviously, this is good news for the campaign, but it doesn't come as a
surprise to us," said Juan Hernández, a Fox campaign adviser. "We are
glad that someone is finally telling the truth publicly."

Ms. de las Heras' long career with the PRI spans decades. She conducted
polls for the 1994 PRI presidential candidate, Luis Donaldo Colosio, who
was assassinated four months before the election. She also worked for
Tabasco Gov. Roberto Madrazo, who competed against Mr. Labastida in the
PRI presidential primary last November.

Ms. de las Heras insists that she has no personal vendetta against
either Mr. Labastida or the PRI, the party to which she said she remains
devoted. Furthermore, she said she is no friend of Mr. Fox, a man she
describes as too conservative and flaky for her taste.

"There's nothing more that I want than for the PRI to win," said the
pollster, whose husband is a PRI candidate for Congress. "But we need to
stop fooling ourselves."
Ms. de las Heras said the PRI must reform itself if it is to retain the
dominance of Mexico politics it has enjoyed for seven decades.

She said the PRI is controlled by market-oriented economists who have
lost touch with their countrymen, especially in rural areas where even
the conservative opposition is making impressive inroads.
"Mexicans are very downtrodden," she said. Mexican President Ernesto
Zedillo "talks about the benefits of macroeconomics, but people have yet
to see a peso in their pockets."

She noted that since the last presidential election in 1994, the PRI has
lost several states to the opposition, including Nayarit, Queretaro,
Nuevo Leon and Aguascalientes. Even the capital, Mexico City, is
governed by the opposition.

"The anti-PRI vote is with Fox," she said. "Fox's strategy has been
brilliant in capturing the anti-PRI vote. People simply want the PRI out
of power."

But as perilous as the PRI's future may look, Ms. de las Heras said she
still believes in her party and in the social justice that at least for
the first decades of its existence the PRI was able to deliver.

"We have to move forward, and the only way to move forward is by telling
the truth," said Ms. de las Heras, author of the 1999 book, The Use and
Abuse of Opinion Polls: Scenarios for the 2000 Elections.
"The truth is our most important ally."

Respected pollster
Among pollsters, Ms. de las Heras is considered serious, competent and

"Maria de las Heras is an intelligent woman and an absolutely credible
pollster," said Rafael Jiménez, a former pollster for two of Mexico
City's leading newspapers and now head of an independent polling company
that does work for Mr. Fox. "She is someone that I have admired for
years and someone who should be commended for her courage to speak the

Mr. Jimenez's ARCOP polling firm has Mr. Fox ahead of Mr. Labastida by 4
percentage points and gaining in momentum.

Ms. de las Heras' poll consisted of 2,054 in-home interviews in 31
states, using a standard random sample, along with her analysis of voter
behavior based on a model developed while working for the PRI. Mr. Fox's
10-percentage point victory is based on a relatively low voter turnout
of 58 percent. Mr. Fox's winning margin widens with a higher turnout,
which could also threaten the PRI's grip on the Mexican Senate, she
said. The ruling party lost the lower house to the opposition in 1997.

Only if turnout falls to a historical low of 51 percent does Mr.
Labastida edge out Mr. Fox by a single percentage point, according to
Ms. de las Heras' analysis.
Voter turnout in the 1994 presidential race was 78 percent. Ms. de las
Heras predicted a similar turnout this year.

PRI officials say Ms. de las Heras will be surprised on election day.
"I think she's wrong," said Mr. Treviño, the campaign spokesman.
"She's missing the point that we are not only counting on the
traditional vote, but also to other elements of society.''

POLL-Mexico's Labastida has slight lead in election 21 Jun 2000 17:00

MEXICO CITY, June 21 (Reuters) - The candidate from Mexico's ruling
party has a narrow lead 11 days before a July 2 presidential election
while support for a top opposition contender has slipped sharply,
according to a Reuters/Zogby opinion poll published on Wednesday. The
opinion poll, commissioned by news and information company Reuters and
carried out by U.S-based Zogby International, also showed 38.2 percent
of voters were undecided.

The poll of 1,330 Mexicans who were likely to vote gave Institutional
Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Francisco Labastida 43.6 percent
support, ahead of Vicente Fox of the conservative National Action Party
(PAN) with 40.7 percent. In the last Reuters/Zogby survey in May, Fox
led Labastida with 46.3 percent support against 41.6 percent. With a
margin of error of plus or minus three percent, the poll was conducted
throughout the country between June 10-18 in face-to-face interviews in
peoples' homes, and showed a statistical dead heat, Zogby said.

Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, a twice-failed presidential contender leading a
five-party left-wing coalition headed by his Party of the Democratic
Revolution (PRD), was running a distant third but increased his share to
14.5 percent from 9.3 percent in the last Reuters/Zogby survey.

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