Argentine Opposition Pact Would Backfire in Election, Poll Says

An alliance between the two leading opposition candidates for Argentina’s October elections would end up benefiting President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s ruling coalition, according to a poll.

If Sergio Massa were to step down from the presidential race in a pact with Mauricio Macri, more than half of the votes intended for him would migrate to Daniel Scioli of Fernandez’s Victory Front alliance, according to the survey by Raul Aragon & Asociados. That would bring Scioli close to winning the election in a first round, Aragon wrote in the report.

“If Scioli captured a third of undecided votes he would surpass the 45 percent level needed to win in the first round,” Aragon said, adding that much depends on what Massa decided to do if he stepped down.

Speculation that Massa and Macri may forge an alliance in an attempt to defeat Scioli has heightened ahead of a June 10 deadline for parties to declare alliances ahead of the presidential election. The benchmark Merval index soared the most in almost a year on June 2 on speculation that Massa and Macri would unite forces against the government.

Massa, a former cabinet chief under Fernandez who broke away to form a dissident Peronist party movement, led most polls in January but has been steadily losing support since. While many pundits have been speculating that an alliance in which Massa agrees to run for governor of Buenos Aires province would strengthen Macri’s presidential bid, his advisers think otherwise, Daniel Kerner, head of Latin America analysis at Eurasia Group, wrote in a report Wednesday.

‘Tarnish That Message’

“They believe Macri’s strength is to present himself as a new alternative, and clearly in opposition to the government,” Kerner said. “Including Massa, who was part of the administration and part of the ruling Peronist movement, would tarnish that message.”

Scioli, the current governor of Buenos Aires province, had 32.1 percent of intended votes against 27.7 percent for Buenos Aires Mayor Macri and 18.4 percent for Massa, according to the nationwide poll by Aragon. If Massa stepped down, Scioli would take 40.8 percent against 33.1 percent for Macri, according to the survey. The poll of 2,200 people was taken May 28 to June 3 and has a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points.