A new survey probing the electoral outlook for 2023 has found that almost a third of respondents would prefer a ‘third way’ candidate in next year’s election to win, rather than either the ruling Frente de Todos and opposition Juntos por el Cambio coalitions.
The poll, conducted by the Solmoirago political communication consultancy firm, showed that Argentina's economic outlook and inflation woes were the biggest concerns for voters, a year out from the presidential election.
With 10 months to go before the possible PASO primaries, the candidates for the main coalitions are yet to be defined, though the frontrunners are well known. For Frente de Todos, President Alberto Fernández has publicly stated his desire to seek re-election, but his unpopularity may yet rule him out. For the opposition, Patricia Bullrich, Facundo Manes, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, Miguel Pichetto and Gerardo Morales have all voiced presidential ambitions. Nicolás Del Caño may run again for the Frente de Izquierda y de los Trabajadores (FIT). Libertarian La Libertad Avanza deputy Javier Milei has confirmed his participation.
In this Solmoirago survey, which was carried out between October 13 and 19 with 1,800 participants (margin of error of 2.31 percent and a confidence level of 95 percent), the preferences for 2023 expressed showed two important factors: the desire for a force to govern outside the traditional bicoalitional system that runs through national politics, and the doubt of voters not knowing who to back.
When the pollsters put the first question to respondents – "Thinking about the elections for president in 2023, would you prefer...?” – 34.6 percent of those polled preferred a government led by Juntos por el Cambio, in what would be a second spell in office for the coalition that occupied the Casa Rosada between 2015 and 2019.
Close behind however was 31.8 percent of respondents who were open to "a new political party governing," separate from the two that took the most votes in 2019 and 2021. In third, with 24.7 percent, was the preference for a Peronist administration.
"The voter is always betting on the new, but when it comes to voting they are much more conservative. One thing is what they say and what they later express at the ballot box,” explained Cristian Solmoirago, the author of the study.
He called the findings a “a wake-up call to the big coalitions and a predisposition to widen the electoral base."
The expert continued: "There is an economic issue that is being transferred to politics. Today in Argentina the main concern is inflation, but also corruption, the government and politicians who cannot solve the problems. Education, housing, health and poverty have a low percentage because the main concerns are economic and political.”
For 38.4 percent of those quizzed, inflation and the economy are the main problems facing the nation. Corruption (26.9 percent) and politicians (9.9 percent) were the next highest-ranking concerns.
When asked about their preferences regarding parties or coalitions for next year’s ballot, Juntos por el Cambio once again prevailed over Frente de Todos: 33.4 percent said they would choose the opposition over the pan-Peronist front (22.8 percent). The next most popular response was undecided, with 21 percent, surpassing the libertarian offering from lawmakers Javier Milei and José Luis Espert on 16.3 percent. Non-Kirchnerite Peronists followed on 4.2 percent, with leftist groupings led by FIT taking 2.3 percent.
Solmoirago considers that whoever takes office next year will need to look for a grand political agreement to ensure proper governance.
"If channels of consensus are not established, I don't know how it will be possible to govern after 10 December,” said the analyst.