MEXICO CITY – Leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has consolidated his hold on second place in the polls ahead of Mexico’s presidential election next month, trailing frontrunner Enrique Peña Nieto, who saw his support drop amid the rise of a national student movement that opposes his candidacy.
Lopez Obrador gained ground for the fourth week in a row, with his support among likely voters rising from 27.4 percent to 29.2 percent, but he is still trailing Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, by 14.4 points, the latest Consulta Mitofsky poll says.
Lopez Obrador, standard-bearer of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, Workers Party, or PT, and Citizens Movement coalition, has gained five points since the May 13 poll, while Peña Nieto’s support has fallen from 48 percent to 43.6 percent.
The former Mexico City mayor narrowly lost the 2006 presidential election to Felipe Calderon, of the National Action Party, or PAN.
The drop in Peña Nieto’s poll numbers coincided with the emergence and rapid growth of the Yo soy 132 movement, which is made up of university students unhappy with Mexico’s political system.
The protest movement started on May 11, when Peña Nieto visited the Universidad Iberoamericana and was jeered by students.
People in Peña Nieto’s inner circle and some members of the media downplayed the incident, accusing the students of being agitators.
The criticism led to the birth of the “Somos mas de 131” (We Are More Than 131) movement, which took its name from the number of students who appeared in a YouTube video and later evolved into the “Yo soy 132” (I Am 132) movement when students from other universities joined the protests.
The movement is non-partisan, but it has expressed opposition to Peña Nieto’s candidacy and the power wielded by Mexico’s large television networks.
Students rallied under the movement’s banner on May 18 at the headquarters of media giant Televisa, rejecting Peña Nieto’s candidacy and calling for balanced coverage in the media.
The student movement has organized other rallies and protests over the past two weeks.
Josefina Vazquez Mota, of the conservative PAN, now trails Lopez Obrador by 3.9 points.
Support for Vazquez Mota, however, fell in the past week to 25.3 percent, putting her solidly in third place after a series of campaign problems. The PAN candidate had 29 percent support on March 30.
Gabriel Quadri, of the New Alliance Party, or PANAL, drew just 1.9 percent support in the latest Consulta Mitofsky poll.
The poll of 1,000 people over the age of 18 was conducted June 1-3 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.
Mexico will hold its presidential election on July 1, selecting a successor to President Calderon.
Nearly 80 million Mexicans will be eligible to vote for a new president, 628 legislators and thousands of other officials in the general elections. EFE