Well. There may not yet be an equivalent of Fivethirtyeight for the Mexican election, but the poll of polls doesn’t look good for AMLO. You gotta stare really hard to see any sign of movement. Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN) is still cruising towards victory with a plurality of the vote. (Mexico, I have to add, does not have a French-style runoff system nor an Australian-style transferable vote. This is a bad thing.)
It seems odd — but not surprising! — that the biggest issues in the election are the least discussed. Oh, they both get mentioned in short ads (see below) but not much in concrete terms. I am referring, of course, to crime and health policy. The latter should be a big issue. While Mexico has made great strides in public health over the past 18 years, it is still far from universal coverage. So what do the two main candidates propose? (My apologies, Josefina.)
Well, both AMLO and EPN think it ridiculous that Mexico has a multiplicity of public health systems: one for formal sector workers, one for government employees (both run like the U.K. National Health Service) and a bare-bones People’s Insurance program for the poor. So it will be no surprise that both are calling for universal coverage. AMLO, however, wants change to be incremental. He wants to allow patients to receive services in the installations of any of the public health programs, a de facto conversion of the federal government’s role to something more like a single-payer system. The problem, of course, is a combination of complexity and vested interests. Peña Nieto is more direct: he wants a new Universal Social Security System, which he claims would cut overhead expenses from 9.5% to 3% and de jure move Mexico to Canadian-style Medicare. He also wants to provide more free medicines via a voucher system, with no word on how to pay for it.
So who would you trust? EPN has a better, more-concrete plan. AMLO is more serious about these things, and incremental change is generally easier. At the end of the day, AMLO is more honest about the inevitability of the need to throw more money at the problem ... but at the end of the day, a President AMLO is also more likely to be hamstrung by Congress.
Edge: AMLO. Not that it matters.