Mexico leftist presidential candidate tops 50% in poll

Mexico City (AFP) –


The fiery leftist leading the race for Mexico's July 1 presidential election, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, would get more than half the vote if it were held now, according to a poll published Wednesday.

The poll, by newspaper Reforma, gives Lopez Obrador 52 percent of the vote, double his nearest rival, conservative Ricardo Anaya, with 26 percent.

It gives ruling party candidate Jose Antonio Meade 19 percent of the vote, and independent Jaime Rodriguez three percent.

Lopez Obrador's score was up four percentage points from Reforma's previous poll, published on May 2, while Anaya fell four points.

With just over a month to go, Lopez Obrador, who is making his third bid for the presidency, looks increasingly hard to beat in the single-round vote -- a sign of Mexicans' frustration with festering corruption, record levels of violent crime and a lackluster economy.

The sharp-tongued, silver-haired former Mexico City mayor is a divisive figure.

Lopez Obrador, 64, has drawn criticism for proposals to grant an amnesty for criminals -- a bid to curb the violence engulfing the country -- and review or reverse historic privatizations and other reforms undertaken by President Enrique Pena Nieto.

But despite growing warnings from the business community that he would be bad for Latin America's second-largest economy, voters appear hungry for change after 89 years under the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and Anaya's National Action Party (PAN).

In its latest poll average, from May 18, respected poll aggregator Oraculus gave Lopez Obrador 46.4 percent of the vote, Anaya 30 percent, Meade 20.9 percent and Rodriguez 2.7 percent.

The new Reforma poll was conducted door-to-door from May 24 to 27 with 1,200 registered voters, with a margin of error of 3.8 percent.