The Mexican paradox: a very macho country that says it is ready to elect a female president

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53% of men and 69% of women prefer a female candidate to win the elections

Mexicans know themselves well. When asked how macho the country is, 75% consider the population to be somewhat or very macho. If they had answered otherwise, the survey would have been invalidated from the first question. That was easy, but the devil is in the details. Do you prefer the next president to be a man or a woman? There the men already show the machismo that they abjured and only 53% prefer a woman; they, however, raise that percentage to 69%, 16 points above. Anyway, the country seems to be ready to receive its first female president in history, something that seems to be going to happen whether they want it or not, since the two blocks with possibilities of winning are headed by a female candidate. And 87% of the total consulted by Enkoll for EL PAÍS and W Radio agree or strongly agree that this is the case. 814 visits were made to homes between February 24 and 28 to collect this data.

There are not many previous experiences, neither in Mexico, nor almost anywhere, to base the knowledge on, therefore, people are guided by their gender perceptions. And their expectations about the change that having a woman at the head of the Republic can entail are hopeful. For example, they think that they would better address economic issues (71%), public security and the fight against corruption. But in these last two aspects there is a great difference by sex. In public security, women see themselves as more capable, 15 points above what they think; and on corruption they also beat them by eight points; to a direct question, two-thirds trust more in the honesty of women. The director of Enkoll, Heidi Osuna, believes that the answers are based on the gender expectation that has been generated year after year, not so much on known cases of women in power, which are not many yet to be able to compare.

On previous occasions, for example in 2012, when López Obrador fought against Peña Nieto and the latter won, the PAN had nominated a woman, Josefina Vázquez Mota. Then the country did not seem ready for that. Osuna remembers the surveys that were done then and believes that being a woman hurt the brand, not so much if she was good or bad as a politician. “Now women are perceived as competitive or more than men.” Things, then, have changed. Today, when asked directly if the country is ready to give way to a woman, 63% believe so, with slight differences between what they answer. The margin with that other question in which 87% agree that a president will probably come out of the polls on June 2, is due to the perception that some have of themselves and of others. That is, I am not macho, but the other is, that is why they do not see the country as prepared.

The major parties have nominated candidates and the electorate has no escape even if they looked for it. What role will the female vote play in this electoral campaign is difficult to determine. It would be a different thing, says Osuna, if one of the two big alliances had opted for a man, there you would appreciate dissimilarities. For those who do not want, not even in painting, to see a woman in power, there is the vote for Jorge Álvarez Máynez, but for those recalcitrant perhaps the candidate of Movimiento Ciudadano does not represent as much manhood as they pursue. The director of Enkoll maintains that it has not been the best decision by Movimiento Ciudadano to present a man, unless the chosen one had been “very macho”. In a very macho country, having the option of voting for a man would have tilted the balance for the orange party perhaps in a good percentage, but not for Máynez, necessarily. “Samuel García was that more macho profile, conservative, with wife, children, church,” says Osuna. Perhaps the video of Máynez with football and beer was intended to move those voters, who knows. Only that the macho jokes end up being little profitable in these times.

So, Mexico, macho or not, will have with all probability a woman at the top of power as a result of these elections. What will happen next? Their peers believe that the situation will change for them for the better or at least the same. 87% say so. Men raise that perception to 89%, something like saying, they come out winning with the change. It is to be assumed that if they were asked, then, who have benefited from having had 100 years of male governments they would answer that, men.

Claudia Sheinbaum, for the officialist bloc, and Xóchitl Gálvez, in the opposition, will face each other in the three months of campaign that follow. There the citizens will have to choose between one policy or another, not by sex, which is the same. For now, the messages they launch are valid for both, it does not matter which one of them claims that “it is time for women”. That already seems to be a fact, what is to be done is to confront ideologies and programs.

Source: El Pais