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ARGENTINA | 11-11-2023 13:44

Argentina’s Milei keeps edge over Massa with one week to go before presidential run-off

Brazil-based AtlasIntel puts Milei’s support at 49% compared to 45% for Economy Minister Sergio Massa, according to a poll released Friday.

Javier Milei, the libertarian outsider promising to scrap Argentina’s currency and Central Bank, continues to hold a slight polling edge over his Peronist rival with just over a week to go before the November 19 presidential run-off.

Brazil-based AtlasIntel puts Milei’s support at 49 percent compared to 45 percent for Economy Minister Sergio Massa, according to a poll released Friday. Discounting blank votes, annulled votes and undecideds — which is the way the winner will ultimately be decided — the libertarian’s lead is 52 percent to 48 percent. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

The results are essentially unchanged from another poll by the same firm a week ago. Atlas was one of the few pollsters that accurately predicted Massa would vault ahead of Milei in the October 22 first-round vote.

Massa is pledging a more centrist version of Peronism — the nationalist, state-centric movement that’s dominated Argentine politics for decades. He’s also overseeing an economy lurching into its sixth recession in a decade, with annual inflation running above 138 percent.

Milei, meanwhile, promises to slash state spending, swap the peso for the US dollar and shut down Argentina’s Central Bank to thwart inflation.

The two candidates will square off Sunday in a televised debate. The Atlas poll shows they’re both struggling to win voter approval. Some 49 percent of respondents see Milei in a negative light, compared to 57 percent for Massa.

Over the past week, Massa visited the provinces of Córdoba and Santa Fe — the largest electoral districts outside of Buenos Aires — and announced a new tax rebate. Milei campaigned in wine-producing Mendoza province and the suburbs of the capital. 

The latest Atlas poll was conducted online with 8,971 participants, between November 5 and 9. 

Whoever wins the most votes in the run-off will become Argentina’s next president, with a new government taking office on December 10.

by Manuela Tobias, Bloomberg

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