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Two weeks after the first presidential debate, its expansive waves continue to shake the electoral waters. The polls published this week are evidence of the impact the post-debate has in vote intentions.

1.) According to, AMLO maintains leadership and has a 16-point advantage. Nevertheless, the Morena coalition suffers unrest derived from the candidate’s poor performance in the debate, which showed his vulnerability.

This would explain the angriness and even aggressiveness of López Obrador, who has revived the theme of a conspiracy against him, accusing a handful of businessmen and even president Peña Nieto. He shifted from an affable stance to accusations such as “influence traffickers,” predatory minority, and “privilege of giving orders.” Two months away from the election, AMLO’s bad temper, in addition to his dispute with the private sector and civil society, raises alarms about his intolerance and antidemocratic disposition.

On the origins of the Venezuelan crisis, Harvard professor Ricardo Hausmann points out that attention should be paid to the confrontational discourse of the “people” against the “elites." Without doubt, a timely warning.

2.) Popular consensus declared Ricardo Anaya the debate winner. Although he did not knock out López Obrador, he did fulfill the expectations of his performance. His 4-point rise in the polls seems to bring him back into the race, after a bump in the road caused by reports of alleged money laundering against him.

As part of his repositioning, the candidate has started calling for strategic voting in his favor. The doubt, nonetheless, is if he will manage to get close enough to the lead to give his call credibility.

3.) In third place after the debate, the PRI candidate José Antonio Meade changes his course to revive his candidacy on the road to the second debate on May 20, 2018. The relay of Enrique Ochoa by René Juárez seeks: one, to dampen Ochoa’s bellicose attitude; two, incorporate the pure priism that had been relegated by campaign’s first circle; and third, that the state, local, and federal and local congress campaigns not suffer the same fate.

4.) The independents Margarita Zavala and El Bronco accomplished their goal. Margarita has accomplished this feat without resources or TV spots. It remains to be seen if she will join efforts with the PAN or will end up facilitating López Obrador’s triumph.

El Bronco brought animation and excesses to a debate that broke audience records, but he did not even snatch one point from el Peje.

I concluded my previous column saying that after the first debate we could speak of an entirely different election. Everything indicates this held true.

This views expressed here are solely those of the author.

About the Author

Verónica Ortiz-Ortega

Political Analyst, El Economista and Canal del Congreso
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Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more