Argentina 2023 elections: 15 key points for presidential vote

Shifts in age profile, voting logic, and social inclusion will be critical

Gustavo Córdoba is director of the polling company Zuban Córdoba

Argentina’s 2023 elections are beset by a sense of generalized uncertainty. With that in mind, here are 15 points to consider regarding Sunday’s vote.

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1. In our view, it’s almost certain that voter turnout will rise compared with the primaries. It’s possible that participation will be around 75%. 

2. If that increase consists entirely of younger voters, it will increase Milei’s chances of winning in the first round. 

3. If, on the other hand, they are over the age of 60, Milei’s chances will be diminished.  

4. The electoral campaigns never left the comfort zone of their guaranteed voters — and that’s a shame. They didn’t engage with the rest of the electorate. 

5. The limits of Patricia Bullrich are established by the fact that she’s only winning in Buenos Aires City. 

6. We’re seeing that her top aspiration would be receiving 100% of the votes JxC got in the August primaries — that is, 28%. 

7. The other limit is set by her mayoral candidates in Buenos Aires Province, who feel obliged to attach themselves to Milei and encourage voters to split the ballot (Translator’s note: Argentina’s ballot system allows voters to pick candidates from different coalitions for president and mayor)

8. As we have said before, it’s a miracle Sergio Massa is competitive in the race at all. It’s not a matter of public opinion, but of faith, given the economic context. And he needs a second miracle to have any chance of winning in a potential runoff. 

9. After the primaries, Javier Milei barely campaigned: it was just maintenance work. His main and secondary spokespersons talk as if they’d actually prefer people didn’t vote for them on Sunday. That’s surprising to us. Yet, he’s winning in the same provinces where he won in the primaries.   

10. There’s an Argentina that’s invisible to the campaigns, and here’s what it expresses: a desire for everything to crash and burn, a sensation of the abyss, and quality of life in freefall. A large sector of Argentine society does not feel spoken to or heard.

11. It’s the worst context we could have in democracy, because even the democratic values we recovered in 1983 are now up for debate. 

12. We believe that the chances of a second round are high, although we can’t rule out that the election will be decided on Sunday. 

13. Run-off elections are generally very different from the primaries and the first round. In the primaries, we vote by gut instinct, and in the first round we vote with our party or ideological identity. 

14. But in the second round, the earlier rounds are not the decisive factor. Macri came second, then won in the second round with a three percentage point advantage. In Brazil and Uruguay, the respective second rounds were decided by minimal percentages. In other words, these are very competitive elections and tactical or rejection votes usually influence the outcome. 

15. Get some popcorn — Sunday is when we’ll see if this will drag on until November or be decided the same day. 

This analysis was originally published on X (formerly Twitter). Translated and published, with permission, by Agustín Mango.


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