Political Risk Analysis - 2018 Election: A Big Opportunity For Populist Candidates - APR 2017


BMI View: Significant popular disenchantment with the centrist, political establishment in Mexico bodes well for populist candidates in the July 2018 presidential election. Rising violent crime, anti-Trump sentiment and a questionable dividend from structural reforms will be the cornerstones of the electoral debate.

Mexico's July 2018 presidential election is shaping up to be highly contentious, with a strong showing by leftist, populist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador likely. Rising violent crime, gas price hikes, and attempts to engage US President Donald Trump constructively despite incendiary comments about Mexico have anchored President Enrique Pena Nieto's approval ratings. The latest data from Reforma show that Pena Nieto's approval rating was just 12% in January. Meanwhile, his Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) fell by 6.5 percentage points in voting intentions for the 2018 election between September 2016 and February 2017, dropping to third place overall. The Partido Accion Nacional (PAN) is currently polling in first place, while Lopez Obrador's Movimiento Regeneracion Nacional (Morena) is in second place, having jumped by 3.8 percentage points since Q316. We believe that Lopez Obrador is likely to be successful in capitalising on public disenchantment with corruption, violence and fiscal austerity, presenting a significant challenge to the establishment PAN and PRI in 2018.

Crime, Trump And Missed Reform Dividend The Major Themes

Establishment Parties Under Pressure
Mexico - Voting Intentions For 2018 Election By Party, %
Source: Consulta Mitofsky

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