According to most surveys, opposition candidates are still trailing those of the ruling Frente de Todos (FdT) coalition in Argentina's province of Buenos Aires, the country's largest district, less than two weeks before Sept. 12's Open Primary, Mandatory and Simultaneous (PASO) elections.
Victoria Tolosa Paz and former provincial Health Minister Daniel Gollán are said to be reaping 38.2% of voting intention, against 22.8% of Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) candidates to the national Lower House Diego Santilli and Graciela Ocaña. Neurosurgeon Facundo Manes, also from within JxC came in with 11.3%.
Then 5.4% of the votes would go to no candidate at all, while neoliberals José Luis Espert and Carolina Piparo took fifth place with 4.1%.
Meanwhile, in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (CABA), a survey by Observatorio Electoral Consultores showed that JxC of Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta would total 51% of the votes, however, split among its three contestants. FdT was said to get 27% of the votes and neoliberals like Javier Milei would account for 7% of the votes.
Leading polls among JxC candidates to reach the national House of Deputies on behalf of CABA is former Deputy Mayor María Eugenia Vidal -also the former governor of the province of Buenos Aires- with 30%.
Santilli, CABA's incumbent Deputy Mayor runs in the province of Buenos Aires and Vidal has run both in CABA and in the province of Buenos Aires. Current Vice President and former President Cristina Kernández de Kirchner has been a Senator on behalf of the province of Buenos Aires and also representing the province of Santa Cruz. These combinations can happen because Argentina's electoral law allows citizens to run either on behalf of the district where there were born or the one where they have resided for over at least two years.
Vidal is 5 percentage points ahead of former Economy Minister Ricardo López Murphy, while former Health Secretary Adolfo Rubinstein's list would get 2% of the votes. Thus, JxC candidates combined would total 57% of the votes.
The ruling FdT coalition took a heavy blow when the Governor of the Province of Corrientes, Gustavo Valdés of the Radical Civic Union (UCR), a partner within the JxC coalition at a national level, was reelected with around 76% of the votes.
Most pollsters agree the deciding factor in the outcome of the PASO elections will be the people's perception of how the local and federal governments have handled the coronavirus pandemic, both from a sanitary point of view (vaccines, etc.) and from the economic consequences.
In this regard, another study has shown that confidence in the Government fell 22% year-on-year, which means that the current level of confidence is 6% lower than Mauricio Macri's by December 2019 when he left office and 20% below Alberto Fernández's after his first month as President in January 2020.
The present scenario signals that FdT would nevertheless retain its 30% die-hard support, while the opposition will share bits and pieces of the remaining 70% and except for CABA, the rest of the country would still support Fernández to a certain degree, including a victory in the province of Buenos Aires, the most important district when it comes down to the number of voters because presidential elections are based on a single-district formula, unlike in the United States.
According to projections, Tolosa Paz would beat Santilli by 33.7% of the votes against 28.2% in the November mid-term elections. PASO elections are held to choose candidates. Mid-term elections determine members of Congress. In other words, any politically significant event between September 12 and November could shift those projections.