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When you´re only #2, you try harder?

21 February 2012

I’m just old enough to remember one of the most creative spins in advertising history, in which the car rental company, Avis, made a virtue out of the fact that they were only the second largest company of their kind.  With Enrique Peña Nieto and PRI still the front-runner in the 2012 presidential campaign, both PAN and MoReNa (PRD-PT-Moviemento Ciudadano) are both attempting to sell the viability of their campaigns on being #2.  The presumption being, of course, that the second place party will “try harder” (and be worthy of serious consideration by the undecided voters and those not beholden to any of the parties) … and that Peña Nieto is beatable (which, even PRI has to admit, is more an more likely).

Understanding the desire to sell the #2 slot, I have to take these results from a Covarrubias y Asociados poll with a grain of salt.    Covarrubias is the PRD’s usual pollster, and there is a tendency in political parties to use those pollsters that give them the best results.  However, it has to be added that Covarrubias has a good track record when it comes to polling.

The much better know Mitofsky polls, like Covarrubias polls show show a rapid drop in support for Peña Nieto, but Mitofky generally put the MoReNa vote in the “also-ran” category… third place if it is even mentioned in foreign news reports.  I presume (perhaps wrongly) that Mitofsky gets the most foreign coverage not just because the international firm is used by the larger media companies, but also because its methodology is something foreign reporters (the very few who understand statistical analysis (and I do not count myself among them) are more comfortable with Mitofsky´s methodologies.

Mitofsky polls  tend to show results favoring their conservative and corporate clients.  It appears that Mitofsky relies extensively on telephone surveys (in a country where land-line ownership is still skewed towards the wealthier, and presumably more conservative, minority) and random street surveys, whereas Covarrubias uses a more innovative approach (including sampling cellular phone users) to sample a cross section of voters broken down by economic status.

Covarrubias also shows Peña Nieto hemorrhaging supporters, but shows AMLO in second place, and support likely to trend upwards much more than it will for Vasquez Mota.  I’m not sure this was reported just to give bragging rights to MoReNa, or if it is a relatively accurate reflection of where the election stands today … during a black-out period as far as party propaganda goes … but both polls suggest Vasquez Mota and AMLO need to “try harder” if they are to be Number Two… let alone have a chance at snagging Los Pinos.

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