On Sunday Argentines will be able to choose their candidates to the Senate and Lower House for the midterm October elections, in a process known as PASO, which means open mandatory, simultaneous primaries for all parties, but which are not compulsory for the electoral roll.
Since most parties have their hopefuls decided before the actual vote in the primary, in crucial or decisive electoral circuits such as the province of Buenos Aires which represents over 35% of the Argentine electorate, the dispute is interpreted as a pre-picture of tendencies before October, when a third of Senate benches and half of the Lower House are to be renewed.
Thus the dispute for the Buenos Aires province Senate bench has become particularly attractive since of the three main candidates, one clearly represents Kirchnerism in the person of non else but ex president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the second Esteban Bullrich, the incumbent sponsored by the alliance supporting president Mauricio Macri (who beat Kirchnerism in 2015) and the third Sergio Massa, an independent who was once Cristina Fernandez' cabinet chief.
The province of Buenos Aires is roughly split between an urban and suburban electorate, which make up close to 70% of provincial voters, while the remaining 30% belong to the rich farming areas. Particularly in suburban areas, Cristina Fernandez is strong and leads, since residents have been hit by loss of jobs, inflation and soaring utility rates as Macri tries to impose some common sense to the chaotic economy inherited. Other middle class urban areas would rather support some other non Kirchnerite candidate, while the camp obviously is solid Macri terrain given all the measures to sponsor farming, and the end of all the clamps and huge fiscal bites on crops.
However those Argentine pollsters that can be considered reliable or not bias, are indicating that despite the technical ties between Cristina and Bullrich, with the ex president slightly ahead but inside the error margin (plus-minus 2.5%), up to 15% remain undecided to which must be added another 15% of so called soft votes, since they are not entirely convinced and can change in the previous 24 hour or even at the moment of casting their vote.
Besides, Cristina Fernandez seems to have reached a ceiling while Bullrich with aggressive campaigning from Macri but above all the very charismatic and respected provincial governor Maria Eugenia Vidal, is inching up. The average of the latest 28 polls from 14 different pollsters have the former president with a 33.84% support, Bullrich, 31.48% and Massa, 18.38%. More specifically the last four polls which were released before the 48 campaigning ban before Sunday, and taken in August, two of them show a technical tie, while the other two have Cristina Fernandez ahead. Where all coincide is that Sergio Massa is in third place.
However the parties' sights are also on the day after: 13 August. The fact is Cristina Fernandez is running with her own newly created party Unidad Ciudadana since the strong Peronist movement, to which she and her late husband once belonged, does not recognize or accept her leadership.
The Macri camp will try to attract and concentrate all the anti Kirchner votes possible, depending on how strong Cristina Fernandez finally turns out. While Cristina will try to incorporate all the left leaning parties that despise Macri and his orthodox economic policies. In effect some polls indicate that 52% would never vote for Cristina and 58% would not like to see Kirchnerism back in office.
However Cristina attracts a majority of young voters, while the Macri candidate is preferred by those over 50. Likewise the ex president is more likeable for those families with economic problems, while those who manage are inclined for the Macri perceived stability. But as said before the Macri team have a formidable weapon to neutralize those who feel disappointed or disenchanted with the current situation and that is governor Maria Eugenia Vidal, who against all odds and in a historic event beat the Peronist (Kirchnerites) in their own turf.
Besides most economists agree that Argentina seems to have turned the corner and the economy is bouncing back strongly, and most important with the creation of jobs in construction, industry and services, which hopefully will be a plus despite inflation and the monthly gas and power bills.