Morena loses the absolute majority and needs allies to control Congress

Morena, the Mexican government party, will no longer have an absolute majority after the elections on June 6 and will need to agree with allied parties to control Congress, according to a survey by SIMO Consulting for EL PAÍS. The composition of the Chamber of Deputies will define Mexico’s political future for the next three years. The votes will put to the test, mainly the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) and the plans of the president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and his so-called Fourth Transformation. The survey indicates that Morena would remain with 230 seats, compared to the 256 he had since his victory in 2018 (six above the 250 that define the absolute majority). All this despite the fact that this formation obtains a remarkable 44% in effective voting intention, which would exceed the 39% it achieved in 2018, but given the format of competitions and coalitions in each district and constituency, it does not necessarily translate into a looser majority. In this sense, Lopez Obrador maintains a high popularity and 66% of the population approves his management.

Morena’s partner with a more favorable evolution would be the Green Party (PVEM), which if it occupied 11 seats would reach 53 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, while the PT would suffer a setback, going from 46 to 32, according to the poll. El Verde, which in 2012 was in coalition with the PRI, has maintained a solid alliance with López Obrador’s party since 2018 and has obtained revenues by positioning itself as a formation with striking slogans, without a specific compass and prone to agreeing on the government’s agenda. in turn. SIMO’s projection would ensure an absolute majority for this ruling coalition, but would deny it the qualified two-thirds of the Chamber (333 seats).

Among all the combinations on the board, a scenario in which Morena did not have an absolute majority would mean the installation of negotiations by the party in the Government, both with its allies and with the opposition, to carry out López Obrador’s projects. The Chamber of Deputies has as its exclusive activity the annual approval of budgets, so that in the last three years Morena and her absolute majority have managed to redistribute public money on the president’s agenda: infrastructure projects (such as the Mayan Train, the Felipe Ángeles airport and the Dos Bocas refinery), social programs, and the strengthening of the Armed Forces.

The growth of the PRI is also significant. The tricolor formation, which suffered a disaster in the 2018 elections as a punishment for the Government of Enrique Peña Nieto, goes from 48 seats to 82. The other major opposition party, National Action (PAN) barely sees a slight upturn in its presence, from 77 to 79 seats, but it would be relegated as the second force to the detriment of the PRI. The PRD, which already suffered a blow three years ago, sees how its presence barely changes and would register 14 seats, for the 12 it currently has. The Citizen Movement would fall considerably, despite the fact that it aspires to achieve victory in one of the main states -Nuevo León- in the Chamber, its presence would be almost insignificant, losing 13 seats, from 25 to 12.

The uncertainty in these projections must be underlined. Three weeks before an election that is mobilizing the entire country, there is still room for ups and downs. Some could be in the intention of voting, but others can occur in the actual affiliation of the candidates. The National Electoral Institute (INE) established in March a series of rules designed to guarantee the constitutional rule of proportionality, set at 8%. These norms could end up affecting the final number of seats to be enjoyed by the parliamentary group of each party. The projection presented by SIMO takes into account both the rules and the associated uncertainty, and therefore offers wide ranges. But not even within these intervals is Morena, to this day, in a position to revalidate its absolute majority in the Chamber.

López Obrador’s party has opted to compensate for this loss through closer and more generous alliances with its preferred partners: the Labor Party (PT) and the Green Party (PVEM). The objective is that the resulting alliance, baptized with a name that indicates continuity with respect to the one they already signed in 2018 (from “Together We Will Make History”, then with Social Encounter instead of Green, to “Together We Make History”), reach a qualified majority of two-thirds of the House, which would offer him extra room for maneuver for more far-reaching legislative changes.

Once again, the uncertainty associated with these elections makes it impossible to be categorical: within the intervals defined by the projection, it would be possible to obtain a qualified majority from the coalition. In fact, other screenings offered it until last month. But the consensus of polls has been moving towards a certain weakening of Morena, reflected both in the projection presented here and in which it maintains the independent platform Oraculus.

The qualified majority of Morena and his partners would allow the López Obrador government to approve projects such as the tax reform that the Ministry of Finance has already anticipated, a possible energy reform or the election of new INE advisers.

Solid but insufficient vote for Morena

Despite the possible loss of the absolute majority, Morena remains in the lead in electoral preferences, with 44%, followed by the PRI with 19% and the PAN with 18%. The party’s support in the Government is more sustained among men and adults over 60 years of age, as well as in the states of the third constituency, which are key to the distribution of proportional representation seats: Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Yucatán. Morena was founded in 2011 by López Obrador after leaving the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) to promote his second candidacy for the presidency in 2012 that he lost to PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto. In 2018, the so-called López Obrador effect He quickly led the young political group to take over numerous public offices and has remained among the preferences of voters in much of the country ever since.

The effervescence of Morena culminated in the debacle of the PRI, the historic party that governed Mexico during the 20th century, which became the third political force in one fell swoop. The fall of the PRI also happened three different cases of corruption of the Government of Peña Nieto. The party lost, in the following years and in equal measure, public offices, activists and budget. However, the projection indicates that the PRI could recover some of its seats – it has 48 and could reach 82 – and that the effective intention to vote for the tricolor party (19%) is second after Morena. These figures contrast with the unfavorable image of the formation and the refusal of 65% to consider giving their vote to that party.

The proportion of voters who would never choose Morena corresponds almost point by point to that of those who negatively value President López Obrador, perhaps the most stable data in political polls so far this six-year term.

High and stable approval of López Obrador

A majority of the Mexican population continues to approve, with 66%, the administration of the President of the Republic. While a third do so decisively, another 36% approve with greater shyness. But only 29% of the population disapprove of their work somewhat or a lot. Since the start of his government in 2018, López Obrador has maintained these figures in his favor and with occasional drops. The president even takes up these data regularly in his morning conferences and offers them as arguments when he puts a government proposal on the table.

This three-thirds logic (one highly approving, one approving but more timid, and one disapproving) has been stable more or less constantly since August 2020. Only in June, during one of the worst moments of the year. pandemic in Mexico, seemed to break: then, less than a fifth of the voters showed a decidedly positive assessment. But at the same time at that time more than half valued the presidential management positively at least to some extent, maintaining de facto two-thirds of presidential approval.

That wall has not been broken; enthusiasm has hardly changed within of the coalition of more than 60% that the President maintains, at least when the citizens are questioned for approval in different degrees, instead of using the dichotomous formula “approve / not approve”, which tends to yield less nuanced results. The president recently boasted his approval levels among the best, according to data from the American consulting firm Morning Consult, with respect to other leaders in the world.

Methodology. Public opinion survey carried out by SIMO Mexico of 2,000 effective cases, with a face-to-face survey, between May 10 and 14, 2021. The target population was men and women of legal age (18 years or older), who have a credential to vote in force, they vote in the selected electoral section. The margin of error assumed is +/- 3.46% with a design effect of 2.5 (calibration by ranking method by sex, age range and total by district), for a confidence level of 95%.

The projection of seats, also from SIMO Mexico, was carried out using a linear regression model that takes as inputs the total vote cast for fiscal year 2018, as well as the estimates corresponding to this survey. It is based on the rules for the assignment of deputies established by the electoral authority. The exercise verifies that the condition of not exceeding the limit derived from the estimate of votes plus 8% for each party is met, also considering the effect of coalitions. The ranges, in any case, represent only a projection as of the date of the survey, and should not be taken as final.

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