God bless #YoSoy132, but it may not be happening soon enough to affect the final outcome on July 1! The 3rd student debate was more informative than either of the first two debates organized by IFE, but the fact is that only those who were committed to finding it on-line actually listened to it and paid attention, and most of those listeners had already decided how they would vote — anyone other than PRI. Even the PRI recognized that this debate would not help them and could only harm them in some areas: Enrique Peña Nieto didn't even appear — he was represented by an empty chair. At the end of the question period, the student moderator handed each of the 3 other candidates a folder containing questions that had come in throughout the evening and he put a stack of questions on the empty seat that had been reserved for Enrique Peña Nieto.
During the debate, Twitter was buzzing with comments and observations directing people to the most stable internet video, or buzzing with jokes and one-liners about why Enrique Peña Nieto wasn't there. Many of tweets suggested that he was hiding in the bathroom, or that he didn't come because there was no bathroom in the studio for him to hide (as he had done at Iberoamericana University in early May)
The fact is, the movement is still very much a central Mexico and it is an elite movement peopled by a generation that communicates through social media. And although Mexico has moved with a vengeance into the e-world, its users are not representative of the large swaths of this country of more than 110 million people.
There have been #YoSoy132 protests and rallies in other parts of Mexico, and there are many students and young people who have self-nominated themselves as members of #YoSoy132. The students have also established a website and twitter account to disseminate information about how to ensure that the election results are honest and clean. In other parts of Mexico, there are also many students and young people now writing letters of protest to IFE in strong voices demanding that the electoral oversight body make sure that the vote is fair and just. One of the most popular letters circulating is asking IFE to change the ballot because it could lead to confusion and spoiled ballots for Andrés Manuel López Obrador (his name will appear in 3 separate places because of his endorsement by 3 official parties). But those protests and organizational efforts outside of the capital region are unlikely to change the mind of enough people before July 1.
There have been a few polls this week that continue to show that the PRI and Enrique Peña Nieto have a large lead in preferential polls (above 40% of decided voters). Reforma, which is the most credible newspaper in Mexico, published a poll yesterday that indicated that Enrique Peña Nieto had the support of 42% (up from 38%) and that Andrés Manuel López Obrador had slipped to 30% from the previous poll's 34%. But what is most telling about this poll by Reforma is the pattern in the regional breakdowns. The following diagram indicates that the Progressive movement led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador (with the support of 3 parties) is clearly in the lead in Central Mexico (Mexico City, D.F.) and that he is running a close second in the south. But the PRI is overwhelmingly in the lead in the north (more than 50%) and is followed by Josefina Vázquez Mota in second place. PAN and Vázquez Mota are also running in a strong second in PAN's traditional support states to the west of Mexico City (e.g. Jalisco, Michoacan, Guerrero)
|A screen image capture of Reforma June 19 results of voter intention.|