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ARGENTINA | 24-11-2023 16:38

53% of Argentines want Milei to make 'moderate adjustment'

New CB Consultora opinion poll, conducted shortly after run-off, highlights expectations – and preferences – regarding new president-elect Javier Milei's plans to reform Argentina's economy.

President-elect with 55 percent of votes in Argentina’s run-off last Sunday, Javier Milei has a busy time ahead before being inaugurated as Argentina's head of state for the next four years.

His resounding triumph in the run-off on November 19, finishing around 11 points ahead of Sergio Massa was surprising because – as he himself admitted – he is the first president to be elected by a majority while promising austerity. 

“There’s no money.” Milei assured in his last interviews before voting day, seeking to sustain a government plan which promises a major adjustment of the public coffers. 

Highlighting the challenge ahead, a new poll from the CB Consultora political consultancy firm indicates the degree of expectation facing Javier Milei a few weeks away from wearing the presidential sash.

The survey, conducted between November 21-22 and polling more than 2,000 respondents, shows Milei with a positive image of 59 percent.

Cristian Buttié, director of CB Consultora, explained that “Milei starts with a 59-percent positive image, 14 percent more than our last assessment on November 15, prior to the election. This is translated into a high degree of confidence by society in his government proposals.”

Buttié said there is a “high degree of expectation,” with around 47 percent optimistic about Milei’s future administration, though “there is 30 percent of hard-line opposition to Milei that rejects any proposal he makes.”

Looking at the libertarian’s proposed policies, CB Consultora looked at Milei’s dollarisation plans for Argentina’s economy and asked respondents to forecast at what rate the “blue” parallel dollar will be trading on inauguration day on December 10.

Answers variedL 34.6 percent stated it will likelby be worth between 1,000 and 1,500 pesos, 24.2 percent under one thousand and 20.7 percent were unsure. Just 12 percent believes it will be worth between 1,500 and 2,000 pesos.

“For over half of those surveyed, the dollar should be under 1,500 pesos. Thus, if the dollar climbs above those values, it will shock half [of them] and by extrapolation half of Argentines, which can affect the expectation and credibility of Milei’s administration,” warned Buttié, highlighting one of the libertarian’s major challenges.

Regarding the transition, the opinion survey asked respondents whether Alberto Fernández’s current administration must make a strong adjustment, coordinated with Milei and his team. Just over 38 percent answered that the current administration should trim spending as much as possible, whereas 36.1 percent consider any adjustment should be moderate.

Many voters, while backing Milei, are concerned about the impact fierce cuts in government spending could have on public services. According to CB Consultora, 53 percent of those surveyed answered that during his term in office, Milei must make a “moderate adjustment without touching education, public healthcare and social benefits.” Nearly 55 percent voted for him in the run-off.

Lastly, the polling firm asked for opinions about “the degree of involvement Mauricio Macri should have in Javier Milei’s government.” Some 35.7 percent answered that he should have “no involvement” and 34.1 percent said “some involvement.”

Looking at the ruling Peronist coalition, which has just over two weeks left in office, 32.4 percent believe that Buenos Aires Province Governor Axel Kiciloff will emerge as the movement’s leader and the head of the opposition once Milei takes office. By way of comparison, Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner received 9.3 percent and President Alberto Fernández an insignificant 0.8 percent.

“It’s striking that Axel Kicillof is left as leader of the opposition, and thus that tug of war between the Buenos Aires Province governor and the president-elect will have to be followed closely,” concluded Buttié.

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Felipe Leibovich

Felipe Leibovich

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