Most campaign consultants say early September marks a turning point in the presidential race. After PASO, Javier Milei started to rise and for some he reached 38 and 39 percent of the votes. However, in the past twelve days, it not only did not continue to grow, but it lost two and even three points. On average, the consultants registered a 36 percent voting intention for Milei.
The diagnosis where there is the greatest coincidence is that Sergio Massa has increased by two points and that, today, with more than 30 or 31 percent, he will enter a runoff against the candidate of La Libertad Avanza (LLA). In any case, the situation is changing and there are many things that can change things in one direction or another. Página/12 spoke to almost a dozen consultants, who preferred to give their opinion off the record, because they have studies underway and prefer to wait for the results of the works.
The communication ships between Milei and Bullrich
Most pollsters see communication ships between Milei and Patricia Bullrich. When Milei went down, Bullrich went up. And vice versa. So from the change at the beginning of September there was a slight increase – two or three points – also in the candidate of Together for Change (JxC), who also remained in third place: they gave him about 24 points in voting purpose.
As it is known, the problem of Bullrich is that it only retained a part of the votes of Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and lost a part of what it got on August 13 in the hands of Milei. It was within this framework—the fall of the LLA—that he regained some of what he had lost.
New campaign factors
The consultants think that there is a new situation that has resulted in various factors:
- There are citizens who are starting to see Milei’s faults. Not so much the last two weeks, but referring to previous statements.
- The LLA candidate no longer has clear media protection in line with the JxC, which for months and months glorified him as an instrument to hit the ruling party.
- After August 13, there will be an effect from the first place Milei got. That increased voters through a kind of foam effect. The consultants confirmed that it was not unreasonable that the foam fell and that JxC got a part of the support.
- The fear factor plays a role in this. It is not the same if Milei is seen as a protest vote than if one is actually faced with the possibility that he is in charge, with all the measures he mentioned: tariff education, public hospitals, dollarization, handover in the Malvinas, opposition to the decriminalization of abortion. , the free acquisition of weapons, the sale of organs and many others are controversial proposals.
Quicksand for polls
Of course, the situation is very changeable and many things can change in the days until October 22:
- The whole issue of the economy, especially inflation, hit the voters. It remains to be seen if it stops the rise of Massa or if it is compensated by the measures taken by the minister.
- It will also play an important role if Peronism—governors and mayors—can strengthen the momentum of the campaign.
- We have to see what happens in JxC, which is facing a bad internal situation and the ambiguities of almost all the members, especially Mauricio Macri. Bullrich himself shows weaknesses that are rarely seen in his speech and explanations. It’s also unclear if the entry of Carlos Melconian means a leap forward.
- Milei’s own comings and goings, her changes in position and softening of the proposals may weaken some support. But it is possible that the fear factor of the libertarians in Casa Rosada will increase. It added that, as the campaign continues, the media aligned with Macrism will be forced to hit him more and more.
- There is a reason that is traditionally difficult to diagnose for the polls: those who did not vote for PASO and did so in the general election. They are less political people and less willing to answer surveys. According to those who conducted the polls in recent weeks, the willingness to vote has grown significantly. That would add several million people to the general election.
- Another doubt has to do with the ability of the polls to find the vote for Milei. For example, young people come from relatively low-income sectors. When a sample was made, it asked about the previous vote, that is, the vote in August. And the sample must have a proportion – 30 percent – of libertarian voters in PASO. However, it remains to be seen if the polls register new LLA voters.
Above all the conditions to be considered, the fact is that there is a certain change in trend. For most pollsters, the current reality is that there is a competitive runoff between Milei and Massa. Bullrich was third, but with that little growth registered since the beginning of the month. For other consultants, the libertarian remains at 40 percent, a few points more or a few points less than what is needed to win the first round.
There is still a long way to go, two presidential debates and an election campaign that looks like a roller coaster.