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Electoral geography: Analyzing the 2012 Mexican elections results

Mexican elections for governors, President, local and federal deputies were held on July 1st, 2012. For the first time in more than 15 years, I was lucky enough to be in Mexico to be able to vote in this election (because I usually live abroad, I am almost never in the country when federal elections are held, let alone state-level or municipal-level elections). My field of specialization is comparative public policy across North America with a focus on environmental issues, and more specifically, I study water governance, solid waste policy and urban/industrial/regional transformation. Thus, I confess I’m not really a scholar of elections, let alone Mexican domestic politics. With that caveat, here are a couple of thoughts and a question for scholars of Mexican domestic politics and/or electoral geography.

Mexican election

I have always been fascinated by electoral geography. Using geography to further our understanding of voting patterns and outcomes is, to me, one of the best interdisciplinary research methods. If we combine electoral geography with domestic voting behavior analysis (I am going to guess most of the work done here is quantitative) we can discern why voting occurred in one way and not in other.

Here are some (non-scholarly) musings on the 2012 Mexican election. I also have to fully disclose that I am not associated with any Mexican political party, nor do I have any particular leaning. I’m just a scholarly observer (even if Mexican domestic politics isn’t really my field).

I expected PAN to be ousted at the federal level. Anecdotally, almost every Mexican I knew was thoroughly disappointed with PAN and were planning to vote either PRI or PRD. Public’s expectations of democracy and high governmental performance were instead met with an increase in domestic violence and increasing security issues. I am thinking that the Mexican electorate punished PAN for poor performance at the federal level by voting PRI or even PRD (see for example Miguel Mancera’s alleged 65% win in Mexico City)

I expected PAN to be ousted in Leon, Guanajuato (the largest city in the state). Again, I am thinking that the Leon electorate were tired of 24 years of PAN and wanted a change. What I did NOT expect was for the state of Guanajuato to remain PANista despite Leon (the city with largest population numbers at 2.2 million people) voting a PRI female municipal president (a first, actually).

I’m still puzzled by some of the results of the 2012 Mexican elections, but I can foresee a lot of change coming for Mexico.

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