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Argentina: Daniel Scioli is now favourite for next President (from IKN310)

This was part of IKN310, out last Sunday evening. It gets an airing here on the open blog because several people have written in inquiring about Argentina political thoughts this week. It's easier this way.

Argentina 2015 is going to be one special political showtime.


Argentina: Daniel Scioli is now favourite for next President
To this point, IKN and your author has had Daniel Scioli as its tentative choice as the 2015 winner in Argentina politics, first in the PASO (version of primaries) vote in August and then in the big vote in October to decide who becomes the next President of Argentina. Today that changes, he's now clear favourite.

At the beginning of the year I wrote (11):

"It's a difficult call this early in the process, but I'm contractually obliged to make a call on the Argentina presidential election so the forecast is for Daniel Scioli to be the next President of Argentina."

Then a couple of weeks ago in the Regional Risk update of IKN308 it was:

"'s still too early to call anything with great confidence but things stand so far, my tentative selection of Daniel Scioli for the win has firmed up and looks a little more likely."

But a week is a long time in politics and since then we've had two developments; Firstly, the start of the akin to primaries process (it's very complicated) has begun in some of the provinces of Argentina (last week Salta, today Mendoza and Santa Fe) and initial results have shown decent support in both relative and absolute terms for the FpV candidates. That's the "Frente Para La Victoria" party of both current President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and candidate Daniel Scioli, often known as the Kirchnerist party or simply the "K" party.

So early results in PASO votes have been encouraging for Scioli. Then this morning we have the result of the latest survey conducted by poll people Poliarquia for La Nacion (12)  and here's the numbers from that. with notes below:

1) It was a phone survey of 1,000 people, conducted between April 3rd and April 10th. It covered 40 different representative zones of Argentina and is given a margin of error of +/-3.2%. For what it's worth, Poliarquia is one of the more reliable pollsters in the country and you can tell because they're regularly accused of being pro-govt by anti-govt people and anti-govt by pro-govt people, depending on the poll results on varying subjects they come out with over the course of time.

2) In Poliarquia's previous survey a little less than a month ago (13) Poliarquia scored Scioli at 31%, Macri 25% and Massa 21%.

3) In March, the news was the fading of the frontrunner in 2013 and 2014, Sergio Massa (Frente Renovador party). The latest survey continues to indicate his wilting.

4) Mauricio Macri's (PRO party) share is up from 25% and it's clear he's now the main opposition to an eventual Scioli win and the continuation of the current government in Argentina.

5) Daniel Scioli (FpV party, aka Kirchnerist) is now the clear leader and consolidating. He and Macri and now pulling away from Massa and while here, let's note that although I've added the numbers for two of the other players at htis point there are only three logical possibles for President, the rest is just noise.

6) In the deeper interior party details of the FpV there's more good news for Daniel Scioli. His nearest rival in the FpV ranks for the PASO "primary" vote in August is Florencio Randazzo, and for that August vote Scioli is on 24.5% with Randazzo back on 12.5%. That's a big gap and virtually guarantees his official nomination now (sidebar: Randazzo may now manoeuver for a leading role within a Scioli admin, or perhaps take the Vice President candidacy on the Scioli ticket; for deeper political watchers it's going to be very interesting to watch Radazzo's moves in the next few weeks).

7) Also good for Scioli, in the politically key Greater Buenos Aires region (not to be confused with the separate and relatively small city centre Buenos Aires zone) Scioli is clear frontrunner on 36%, with Massa 22% and Macri 21%. There's an old adage in Argentina politics that you cannot win the presidency without winning Gran BsAs.

8) Finally, it's long been assumed (and confirmed by polls) that if the Presidential vote gives no clear winner on October 25th, a run-off between Daniel Scioli and Sergio Massa would be tough to call but a run-off between Daniel Scioli and Mauricio Macri clearly favours Scioli. As that latter is now the most likely scenario, even the run-off is beginning to suit Scioli.

Bottom line: I'm calling the frontrunner and the most likely challenger, I'm also calling the favourite but please be clear that I'm not calling the winner. It's still not over yet, not by a long haul, but we can now say out loud that Daniel Scioli is favourite to win in October (with a run-off likely in November) and become the next President of Argentina. It's also worth noting that to this point the election campaign has been rather non-controversial and little scandal noise has come so far, which is particularly weird for Argentine politics. It remains to be seen whether the relatively clean campaign continues though it's probably fair to say that the longer things remain "civilized" the more it favours the two frontrunners. As for an eventual Scioli win, ostensibly this would mean a continuation of the current Cristina government and policies as they're from the same but it's also likely that Scioli would be more moderate than CFK, in the mid to long term at least. We can take a closer look at the dynamics of that if the scenario continues to indicate Scioli as dauphin in the months to come.

Mauricio Macri is now the obvious challenger, which is a change from the beginning of the year when I wrote (11), "Main opponent is Massa, in with a squeak is Macri, outsider Randazzo, the rest are just noise" at the end of December. Son of a very rich and successful businessman as well as being current Mayor of Buenos Aires city and president of Boca Juniors football club, Macri comes from as classic a right wing neoliberal political standpoint as you could imagine. If he became President, it would mark a big shift in Argentine politics to the type of "normal" economic policies we see in most industrialized and emerging market growth countries. It would also be a move away from the shadow of Juan Peron (although Macri is bound to swear blind his allegiance to Peron in the months to come). You can expect his candidacy to gain strong support from political and media figures outside of Argentina looking in.

It's going to be fun.