Photo: Gov. Enrique Pena Nieto in Lead
The presidential candidate of Mexico’s centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, enjoys a comfortable lead over his two main rivals in the July 1 contest, according to the results of a new poll by capital daily El Universal.
Former Mexico state Gov. Enrique Peña Nieto stands at 48 percent, followed by Josefina Vazquez Mota, candidate of the governing conservative National Action Party, at 32 percent, and leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, at 20 percent.
The newspaper surveyed 1,000 eligible voters during the period Feb. 8-13 and the poll has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.5 percentage points.
As the governor of the country’s most populous state, the charismatic Peña Nieto has been in the media limelight for years. He is also married to a popular actress, Angelica Rivera.
Vazquez Mota, meanwhile, is trying to become Mexico’s first woman president even as Lopez Obrador hopes to avenge his narrow loss in the disputed 2006 election.
The El Universal survey found that 39 percent of potential voters think a PRI administration would be better at creating jobs, while 34 percent trust the once-dominant party to reduce poverty and curb violence associated with the drug trade.
Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they feared Vazquez Mota would raise taxes if elected and 24 percent suspect the conservatives would try to privatize state oil company Pemex. Another 23 percent said a Lopez Obrador presidency would lead to a devaluation of the peso.
Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said they were firmly committed to a candidate, and only 26 percent expressed a willingness to entertain a different choice.
The official registration for presidential candidates is set for a month from now and the campaign officially runs from March 30 to June 27, three days before Mexicans go to the polls.
Besides choosing a successor to President Felipe Calderon, voters will elect a new federal Congress.
Mexico’s constitution limits the head of state to a single six-year term. The PRI, which governed Mexico from 1929 to 2000, is trying to regain the presidency after two straight losses to National Action.