Online betting platforms have been reported by Argentine media to be paying 1.85 if Libertarian Congressman Javier Milei wins the Nov. 19 presidential runoff and 1.7 if Economy Minister Sergio Massa does. In other words, AR$ 10,000 could become AR$ 18,500 or AR$ 17,000 depending on the outcome.
But all that can change after this Sunday's mandatory debate between the two candidates at the University of Buenos Aires Law School. With enough opinion polls out to the point that there is no favorite contender, eristics could tip the balance. At any rate, online betting is just as good an indicator as any other to fathom the preferences of Argentine voters, who seem to anticipate Massa's victory.
According to the Centro Estratégico Latinoamericano de Geopolítica (CELAG), survey released Friday, Massa would win by 1.4 percentage points, which seems to corroborate the gamblers' viewpoint. In the study, carried out through face-to-face interviews nationwide, Massa (Unión por la Patria - UxP) would garner 46.7% of the votes against Milei's (La Libertad Avanza - LLA) 45.3% while 8 % of those consulted have not yet made up their minds. Counting those as blank votes, Massa would bin by 50.8 % to 49.2 %.
In the Oct. 22 first round, Massa finished first with 37% of the votes followed by Milei's 30%. The opposition candidate had won the Aug. 13 open primaries.
In this scenario, Massa and Milei are planning their debating strategies to address subjects such as Economy, Foreign Relations, Education and Health, Production and Work, Security, and Human Rights and Democratic Coexistence.
Unlike in the previous two debates, the contenders will this time around be able to interrupt each other while moving more freely in a limited area of the stage. Hence, dialogue is expected to be marred by tense moments and it will be up to the moderators to keep things under control.
Massa is expected to focus his speech on proposals while analysts foresee Milei attacking the Economy Minister with data like Victoria Villarruel (LAA) did Cabinet Chief Agustín Rossi (UxP) in the vice-presidential debate this week.
Massa's debating advisers include members of the team who coached Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during last year's campaign while Milei canceled all his engagements for the past few days to prepare for the occasion under assistance from his sister Karina Milei and other consultants. He was said to be more focused on content than on the formalities.