The growth of the right is not a phenomenon exclusive to Argentina. In fact, it could be said that it arrived in our country a little later. For about a decade now, right-wing or far-right leaders have been re-emerging and spreading around the world: Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Donald Trump in the United States (and before the “Tea Party” movement), Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Matteo Salvini in Italy, Jussi Halla-aho and his “True Finns”Santiago Abascal and “Vox” in Spain, Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel in Germany, Thierry Baudet in Holland, Boris Johnson in the UK or Marine Le Penwho yesterday starred in the elections in France and will compete in the second round with Emmanuel Macron, are some examples.
The appearance of these leaders produces a double effect on the political system: some achieved an outstanding electoral performance, obtaining important parliamentary representation or even reaching the presidency of their countries (as Trump or Bolsonaro did); others have become a tough challenge to traditional forceswho often had to shift their speeches to the right to avoid losing electoral power.
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In Argentina, the phenomenon of the new political right is linked to economic liberalism (not necessarily so in the rest of the world). His greatest reference is Javier Milei (and José Luis Espert appears in second place). Miley and her new strength “Freedom Advances” comes from reaching 17% of the votes in the legislative elections of the City of Buenos Aires, obtaining two national deputies and five Buenos Aires legislators. After a successful debut in the electoral arena, the self-referred economist with anarcho-capitalism assures that he will go in search of the presidency in 2023.
How Javier Milei and the libertarians measure in the polls
D’Alessio IROL – Berensztein has just carried out a survey to better understand what direction and dynamics the libertarian phenomenon is taking, in general, and Javier Milei, in particular. The survey was carried out online in the first days of April and the responses of 270 respondents, over 18 years of age, from all over the country were included.
The 44% of those surveyed say they feel identified to some or great extent with the libertarian phenomenon. This figure rises, unsurprisingly, to 100% among people who voted for a liberal/libertarian candidate in 2021. And among Together for Change voters it also rises above average, to 59%. No one on the left and only 14% of official voters feel identified to some extent. Identification grows between the medium-high socioeconomic level (63%) and the interior of the country (53%).
In turn, 42% of those surveyed answered that it is a positive phenomenon for the country, 17% said that it is neutral and 37% that it is something negative. In other words, those who think it is positive outnumber those who think it would be something negative.
Not all those who believe that it is a positive phenomenon vote or plan to vote for libertarian candidates, so it follows that a significant percentage of the population interprets that this contribution is not only achieved through access to positions or the presidency. Is the turn towards economic rationality Javier Milei’s greatest contribution to the public debate? It is possible that a good part of the voters of Together for Change perceive it this way.
Continuing with the data from the survey: the “crack” that exists between voters of the Front of All and Together for Change is transferred to the perception of the libertarian phenomenon: while 73% of the ruling party voters say that it is negative for the country, 62% of the voters of Together for Change affirm that it is positive.
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In addition, those belonging to a medium-high socioeconomic level (47%) and the inhabitants of the interior of the country (52%) are the most optimistic regarding the libertarian phenomenon. The approval that is repeated inside may generate some surprise for those who still think that it was a phenomenon restricted to the City of Buenos Aires. The data would indicate the opposite. Therefore, when Milei has to face the voter of the interior a priori, she would have more to win than to lose.
Regarding Javier Milei in particular: is known by 9 out of 10 respondents. Of those who know him, 4 have a positive image and 5 a negative one. To put this data in context: Milei has an image that stands out well above any leader of the national ruling party (President Alberto Fernández has a 24% positive image), but is below the best-evaluated leaders of Together by the Change (like Patricia Bullrich, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta or Ricardo López Murphy).
Its positive image grows significantly among libertarians (93%), in voters of Together for Change (50%) and in those belonging to the medium-high level (54%). His rejection is total on the part of voters of the left; in 78% of the voters of the Front of All and in 54% of those who opted for other parties.
Finally, when asked about an eventual vote for Javier Milei for president, 33% responded that they would surely (10%) or probably (23%) vote for him, while 66% would not vote for him. Among voters of Together for Change, 39% would vote for it, and among libertarians this figure rises to 86%. No one who voted to the left in the last elections would choose Milei as president, and among those related to the ruling party only 14% would do so. On the other hand, the eventual vote for Milei grows among the medium-high socioeconomic level (53%) and Argentines from the interior (42%).
This study allows us to draw some interesting conclusions and raise some questions. Can the libertarian phenomenon transcend Javier Milei? While 44% said they identify with the libertarian phenomenon and 42% said it is positive for the country, Milei’s positive image and the eventual vote she could get show values that are below, 39% and 33% respectively.
Does the libertarian phenomenon transcend Javier Milei?
This could be an indication that the libertarian phenomenon goes beyond his figure, which, in any case, one cannot fail to highlight, for having become the maximum reference. In fact, it is clear that if he managed to obtain 33% of the votes in the next presidential elections, it would be, considering the current polarization scenario and the background of 2021, a resounding success (in 2015, Macri obtained 34% in the first round and ended up gaining the presidency through the ballot).
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In any case, it is very possible that the libertarian phenomenon as such could be much broader than Javier Milei, as well as the Trump or Bolsonaro phenomenon, it also transcends them. When this class of leaders emerges, what is revealed is a strong dissatisfaction and weariness with the status quo, a disapproval of the political and economic establishment, and the desire to break the frontier of ideas and concepts that have prevailed.
In Argentina in particular, this malaise is linked to economics. Faced with the failure of traditional politics to solve the problems in this matter, the conditions appear for the proposals that Milei represents to emerge. If these conditions are maintained, new leaders who also stand up from libertarian positions could appear, because this phenomenon may be even bigger than Javier Milei himself.