Mexico presidential frontrunner rises in poll after debate
MEXICO CITY |
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Support for Mexico's presidential frontrunner Enrique Pena Nieto edged higher and his lead over leftist rival Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador widened after a weekend presidential debate, a new opinion poll showed on Thursday.
The latest voter survey for the July 1 election by Consulta Mitofsky showed support for Pena Nieto, of the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), at 37.8 percent, up 0.6 points from a poll published by the firm earlier this week.
Support for 2006 runner-up Lopez Obrador, who has risen in polls in recent weeks when a series of youth-led protests have been taking place against the PRI candidate, fell 1.1 points to 24 percent. The poll linked the fall to Lopez Obrador's debate performance.
Josefina Vazquez Mota, from the ruling National Action Party(PAN), attacked both her rivals in the debate and support for her candidacy rose 0.6 points from the previous survey to 21.6 percent.
Pena Nieto' performance in the presidential debate was lackluster, but he did not suffer a major mishap and pollsters say he entered the final stretch of the race in a favorable position.
Analysts said Lopez Obrador missed an opportunity to shine in the debate after protests against Pena Nieto galvanized young voters around the left as an alternative to the government's party and a return of the PRI, which ruled Mexico for most of the 20th century.
This was the first time in several weeks that support for Lopez Obrador's candidacy has fallen in the Mitofsky poll.
Vazquez Mota went on attack in the debate, lashing out at both Pena Nieto and Lopez Obrador, leading many commentators to say she won the otherwise tepid televised face-off.
Her overall support rose slightly in the poll but around 33 percent of those surveyed who watched the debate said she came off as rude.
Around 58 percent of those polled said Pena Nieto won Sunday's debate, and that he made more concrete policy proposals than his rivals.
Recent protests against Pena Nieto also successfully pushed for wider distribution of the second debate on the country's main broadcast channels.
Viewers were pulled away from the first debate last month after Mexico's top broadcasters decided to broadcast a soccer match and a popular variety show at the same time.
(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg and Miguel Gutierrez; editing by Simon Gardner and Mohammad Zargham)
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