Triumphs and defeat: Massa, Milei and Bullrich, in their speeches on Sunday night
Like inverted mirrors, the results of Sunday’s elections and their comparison with the PASO and previous elections allow us to visualize the migration of votes between the different political forces. Where one space gained or recovered support, another lost it. The elections three days ago left two net winners, Sergio Massa and Javier Milei, and a loser, Patricia Bullrich, with a worse performance than expected in her space.
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The ruling party’s candidate established himself as the great winner of the night because he managed to add almost three million votes (2,926,941) to the poor harvest that Peronism/Kirchnerism had collected in the Primaries two months ago. He brought the 6,719,042 votes that had left Unión por la Patria in third place in the PASO, to the 9,645,983 that catapulted the ruling party front to first place on Sunday. He thus recovered the electoral floor of structural Peronism, with a percentage very similar to that which Daniel Scioli had obtained in the 2015 general elections. But, despite this comeback, the PJ lost territorial power. Beyond the fact that Massa won in 13 of the 24 districts for president, as of December 10, Peronism will have almost half of the governors due to the strategy of the provincial leaders to split the elections: it will go from the current 16 to 9.
“It cannot be said that Peronism did great. He returned to get the 9 million or so votes that Scioli had obtained in 2015, after 12 years of Kirchnerism,” said Javier Correa, director of the consulting firm Ad Hoc. But if this Sunday’s harvest is compared against the almost 13 million votes that he had obtained in the 2019 general elections, the loss is much greater. “Perhaps it is not the most fair to compare with 2019 because it came from the catastrophe of (Mauricio) Macri’s economic management and there was a mass of non-Peronist voters who voted for Alberto Fernández because he said he was going to do something different than what he had Cristina Kirchner fact,” this political consultant warned.
Milei, the “anti-caste” phenomenon that had burst into the PASO with the intention of taking everything, did not shoot up to the doors of the first round as predicted in La Libertad Avanza (LLA). However, she added 532,092 votes and won in 10 provinces. The 7,884,336 ballots with his face that were counted at the polls on Sunday is not a negligible figure at all. Especially if it is compared to the little more than a million votes that she had obtained just two years ago in the 2021 legislative election, her electoral debut.
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On that occasion, he only competed for national deputies in the City of Buenos Aires, Province of Buenos Aires and Córdoba, in an alliance with Avanza Libertad, the party of the liberal economist José Luis Espert, today in Juntos. But the votes obtained on Sunday left little flavor based on the expectations generated by his followers, and within the space of the libertarian economist there were already some bills.
Juan Schiaretti on election night, after the results were known. The candidate was surprised by his good performance (Mario Sar)
The 30% that Milei achieved in the general elections, a percentage almost identical to that of the PASO (when all valid votes, including blank ones, are counted in the calculation base), is perhaps his ceiling. It remains to be seen how many PRO voters the libertarian will be able to add in the runoff, or if he will manage to capitalize on the rejection of Juntos followers allergic to any hint of Kirchnerist continuity that Massa may represent.
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That half a million votes that LLA added in the general elections is, however, less than the 869,503 more votes that Juan Schiaretti obtained between the two electoral instances of the presidential race. The Cordoba president is another of those who had an outstanding performance on Sunday, even more so if one takes into account that his real chances of reaching the Casa Rosada were zero. The Left Front, with Myriam Bregman as candidate, meanwhile, retained its votes from the Primaries although it barely added 67,159, in a campaign that in the final stretch focused on increasing the entry of national deputies to Congress.
The only force that lost support was Together for Change, the main opposition coalition to the current Government, which had won the mid-term elections in 2021. Not only did Bullrich fail to retain the votes that the coalition obtained in the PASO with its two lists added together, but lost 628,789 votes from August 13 to Sunday. The candidate only won in the City of Buenos Aires for president. On the other hand, Juntos will have 10 governors starting in December, almost double the current 4.
This phenomenon does not cease to attract attention since it was one of the three competitive forces with the possibility of fighting for entry to a runoff, and confirmed what several pollsters – such as Federico Aurelio – found that it did not manage to retain more than 60% of the voters. of Juntos that elected Horacio Rodríguez Larreta in the Primaries.
”Milei got more votes from Unión por la Patria before the PASO and, now, the one who hurt the most was Bullrich. Milei remained more or less stable because the votes that returned to Peronism on Sunday, she compensated with votes that she got from Juntos. Bullrich, in addition, suffered in the general elections a loss of votes from Larreta that went elsewhere, most likely to Massa. Also, it is possible that he lost votes to Schiaretti in the general election,” Correa analyzed.
If we compare the 10.8 million votes that Juntos had obtained in 2019, the main opposition force lost 4.5 million votes in four years. On the other hand, the ruling party, even after poor management like Fernández’s, plagued by internal disputes and the economic crisis, lost 3.3 million votes (it went from almost 13 million to 9.6 million last Sunday). “We will have to analyze why the most important opposition space in the country is the most affected by the Frente de Todos catastrophe. I think there are several reasons, among them, that there was no leadership to lead the process and having declared the election won ahead of time. Milei does not arise only because of the failure of the AF government but also because of Juntos, which did not know how to channel that discontent as it had done in 2015,” analyzed the director of Ad Hoc.
Massa’s electoral comeback between the PASO and the general elections on Sunday probably has no precedent given the magnitude of the socio-economic situation, being at the same time the minister responsible for the economy.
With inflation of more than 140% annually – which can exceed 190% by the end of the year -, a dollar that has broken through 1,000 pesos and 40% of the population below the poverty line, Massa can show his triumph as an epic staff. He won because he was the candidate, when Peronism had done very poorly in the Primaries, and he managed to ensure that neither Cristina Kirchner nor the President were present in the campaign. A question now arises whether the result – even though he has not yet guaranteed the presidency – heralds a change or not a change in the leadership of Peronism.
The explanation for the growth in the votes of the ruling party that Massa achieved is multi-causal. In addition to the Peronist votes that he managed to recover and that in the PASO had gone to Milei, there was a campaign by the ruling party to identify the voters who did not go to the polls, and go look for them house to house so that they could vote on Sunday. Unlike the Primaries, this time the Peronist apparatus was fully oiled and worked like new. The fear of what a Milei presidency could imply in terms of resource distribution to the governors and mayors of the ruling party.
For the director of Ad Hoc, a consulting firm that carried out analysis of Sunday’s results compared to the 2019 and 2015 elections, it is necessary to take into account that in the general elections 3.2 million “new voters” were added compared to I STEP them.
Among these “new voters” on Sunday, we must take into account the increase in participation – it rose from 70.4% in the Primaries to 77.6 in the general elections – and the reduction of the blank vote, from 5.51% to 2%. “In these elections there was the largest jump in participation between PASO and the generals since they were established in 2011. We do not know how many of those went to Massa, but surely a significant number because he was the one who won the most votes. Many were Peronist voters who had not gone in August or had voted for Milei, and who were recovered by the ruling party. To that, we must add the 700,000 votes that had gone to other forces and did not go to the general election and that function as the blank vote,” said the director of Ad Hoc.
“Between the PASO and the general election there is always movement of voters and the tendency is for the blank vote to be reduced by half. So if participation increased by 5 points and another two or three percentage points of those who did not repeat their blank vote are added, with a very even result in the PASO, those potential voters were decisive,” added this political consultant.
On Sunday, there were 2,555,277 citizens who had not gone to the polls in the PASO and who had gone to the polls in the general elections (10,469,430 absent in August vs. 7,914,153 now in October), according to the numbers counted by Infobae based on the provisional scrutiny data. In turn, there were 744,484 voters who chose candidates who did not reach the threshold of 1.5% of the votes and it is assumed that on Sunday they would have opted for another option.
Finally, on Sunday there were 802,319 voters who had voted blank in the Primaries but who on this occasion decided to do so for a candidate (1,356,480 in August voted blank vs 554,161 on October 22).
According to Ad Hoc’s analysis of Sunday’s results, in the places where Massa did better, in a counter-mirror, Bullrich did worse. “Together they lost more votes in the Conurbano and in the North of the country, which is where Massa did best, and in the interior of the province of Buenos Aires, where Milei added votes. And this despite the fact that in the Buenos Aires interior there are a lot of radical votes and Milei hit them during his campaign,” Correa analyzed. In the North, Bullrich lost 132,888 votes in the general elections with respect to the PASO; in the interior of Buenos Aires, 98,339; and in the 10 municipalities with the greatest electoral weight in Greater Buenos Aires, 87,009 votes.
On the other hand, those 10 Conurbano parties with the greatest electoral weight contributed 541,977 more votes to Massa in the general elections compared to the PASO. Unión por la Patria garnered 1,727,704 votes in total on Sunday in La Matanza, Lomas de Zamora, Quilmes, Almirante Brown, Merlo, Lanús, San Martín, Florencio Varela, Tigre and Avellaneda, according to the calculation of that consulting firm. And in the 10 provinces of the NOA and the NEA, the ruling party recovered 764,567 votes compared to August. In those districts, he garnered 2,538,108 votes, key to victory in the first round.
In the strip of the productive interior that crosses the country, made up of Santa Fe, Córdoba and Mendoza – traditionally with an electorate similar to Juntos -, Bullrich also lost votes with respect to the PASO, although to a lesser extent, at the hands of Unión por la Patria . The ruling party won 421,419 votes in that belt between the two electoral instances. That corridor, despite the lack of harmony between the agricultural sector and the current Government, provided 1,174,997 supports to Massa.
According to the Ad Hoc report, the main opposition coalition did poorly in all regions of the country in the general elections with respect to the Primaries, while Milei did poorly only in Patagonia. On the other hand, the ruling party won votes in all of them and managed to win comfortably on Sunday.
Data processing: Daniela Czibener
Data visualization: Andrés Snitcofsky