Polls show Argentine governor trouncing Menem
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (Reuters) -- Argentine center-left provincial
Gov. Nestor Kirchner looks set to trounce free-market ex-president
Carlos Menem in a May 18 presidential election runoff, according to two
A nationwide poll by pollster Enrique Zuleta Puceiro showed 65.3 percent
Argentines plan to vote for Patagonian leader Kirchner, until recently a relative
unknown, with only 26.1 percent supporting his fellow Peronist rival Menem.
A poll by Equis consultancy in and around the capital found 61.7 percent
of voters will
back Kirchner versus 20.6 percent for Menem, who is seeking a third term at the age
of 72. The polls were first published in local newspapers on Sunday.
Menem won 24.4 percent of the April 27 first round vote and Kirchner 22
Menem is seen at a disadvantage in the second round because he is widely reviled
for corruption scandals that plagued his 1989-1999 rule.
Many in Argentina -- now saddled with 60 percent poverty and 25 percent
joblessness -- blame Menem's free-spending and pro-market reforms for
contributing to the worst economic crisis to hit Latin America's No.3 economy.
"We expect support for Menem to grow as the campaign continues, but it
impossible for him to turn things around in such a short amount of time," Zuleta
Puceiro told Reuters.
Kirchner has campaigned on taking a tough stand with international creditors
lumbered with billions of dol lars worth of defaulted Argentine bonds, vowing to put
Argentines first and seek to jump-start production and job creation.
Menem has vowed a friendlier approach to renegotiating Argentina's debt
closer ties to Washington and the International Monetary Fund -- which many
Argentines blame for the deep crisis that has reduced many ex-workers to
scavenging through garbage.
Jobs and the economy top the list of voter concerns in Zuleta Puceiro's
honesty and ability to govern are valued above all other candidate traits.
Zuleta Puceiro's national survey was based on 1,100 interviews conducted
April 28 and May 2, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The Equis poll of 1,064 people, conducted in the Buenos Aires metropolitan
during the same period, also has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage
Copyright 2003 Reuters.