Argentina Polls Show Neck-And-Neck Race Going Into Primaries

(Bloomberg) -- Polls in Argentina show a very close, polarized race between President Mauricio Macri and opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez before the August 11 primary vote.

Fernandez is ahead of Macri in the primary but the current president would pull ahead in a potential November runoff vote, according to the latest poll by Argentine firm Management & Fit. In the primary, Fernandez is leading with 40.2% of voter intention to Macri’s 38.3%, a difference that’s within the poll’s margin of error. Third-placed candidate Roberto Lavagna would take 10.5% of votes, according to the poll.

Argentina Polls Show Neck-And-Neck Race Going Into Primaries

“It’s an election that seems very polarized, with candidates that have more than 40% and it’s very close, there’s very little difference,” Mariel Fornoni, director of Management & Fit, told Bloomberg Friday.

The poll shows in a potential November runoff scenario, Macri would win 45.4% of voter intentions and Fernandez would take 43.7%. The Management & Fit poll has a 2.2% margin of error.

Another survey commissioned by Brazilian investing firm BTG Pactual this week showed Macri and Fernandez in a technical tie in the primary: Macri had 37.7% of voter intention and Fernandez had 37.4%. BTG Pactual didn’t disclose the company that conducted the poll, which had a 3.1% margin of error.

Argentina Polls Show Neck-And-Neck Race Going Into Primaries

August 2 marks the final day pollsters may publish their data before the Aug. 11 primary, which is effectively a major nationwide poll because all the parties have already chosen their candidate. While pollsters can share their findings with their clients, they cannot make them public. Polls may resume publication after the primary and before the Oct. 27 first round vote.

Fornoni noted that there are two keys for the primary: voter participation rate and the performance of Buenos Aires Governor Maria Eugenia Vidal, a Macri ally facing a tough challenger in Axel Kicillof, a former economy minister. While the vote is technically obligatory, voters between the ages 16-18 and those over 70 aren’t penalized for not voting. Macri and Vidal poll well with older Argentines.

“I think the key to everything is participation and the votes Vidal gets in Buenos Aires province,” Fornoni added.

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