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Many Mexicos… beyond Calderón v AMLO…

8 September 2006

“This idea that there is a country split between two ideological positions is a deceptive fabrication of the political actors and the candidates.

Alberto Saracho, director of the non-governmental Idea Foundation

The way Mexicans voted in July and several opinion polls show that political preferences are not clearly split along socioeconomic, political, ethnic, age, regional or party lines.

According to the official vote tally, Calderón took the votes of just 20.8 percent of the 71.3 million voters registered in this country of 106 million, while abstention amounted to 41.5 percent.

Meanwhile, López Obrador of the “For the Good of All” coalition made up of his Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and the small Convergencia and Trabajo parties, won the votes of 20 percent of registered voters. The leftist candidate earned more than 50 percent of the vote in three of the country’s 32 states, while Calderón did so in just two states.

And each of the two candidates was defeated by Roberto Madrazo of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) — which ruled Mexico from 1929 to 2000 — in several states.

“It is intellectually dishonest to maintain, as political leaders are doing in city squares or in private, that the country is politically divided between right and left or rich and poor, when reality shows otherwise,” political scientist Rossana Fuentes, at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico, told IPS.

The simplification of the confrontation to two positions or candidates “disregards the pluralism that defines any society, and distances civil society from the political system,” said Fuentes.

In a nationwide survey of 2,100 people carried out by the daily Reforma just before the elections, 29 percent of low-income respondents said they would vote for López Obrador and 22 percent for Calderón. The breakdown, meanwhile, was 30 percent for each candidate among the lower-middle income respondents; 29 percent for each candidate among the upper-middle income respondents; and 25 percent for López Obrador and 47 percent for Calderón among the upper income respondents.

With regard to ideological orientation, 54 percent of those who defined themselves as left-of-centre said they would vote for López Obrador and 14 percent for Calderón, while 36 percent of those who identified with the right said they would vote for Calderón and 21 percent for López Obrador. The two candidates had the support of equal portions — 29 percent — of respondents who see themselves as in the centre of the spectrum.

(Full article, MEXICO: The Myth of a Country Divided Between Left and Right by Diego Cevallos, September 8 2006, InterPress News Service.

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