Opinion

The campaign to save Lima's mayor is in trouble

Enrique Castillo for Peru.21

Enrique Castillo argues that the “No” campaign is in trouble and needs a new message if it hopes to win in March.

The campaign to save Lima's mayor is in trouble

Anel Townsend of the anti-recall campaign (Peru21)

The results of the latest polls about the Lima mayoral recall must provide little encouragement for Susana Villarán. Not only has her disapproval rating risen by 5% while her approval rating has fallen by 5%, but support for the recall has risen by 7%. And this latest poll was taken before her words about the women of San Juan de Lurigancho or the question of the number of staircases built came out in the media.


Just a quick glance at the polls tells us that a lot of things are going wrong in the anti-recall campaign, as the recent hirings, as well as the various pledges of public support, have not managed to stop the slide in the polls. However, it seems that in the team led by Anel Townsend, no one has realized this.


63% of those polled said that the pro-recall group was running a better campaign, compared to just 25% for the anti-recall campaign. Meanwhile, 59% said that the pro-recall campaign had a larger presence in the media. We don’t know if that’s true, but people’s perception is that it is, and that’s what matters. People don’t like the anti-recall campaign, and they don’t feel a connection to it. Perhaps that’s why they don’t feel a connection to the mayor, either.


The mayor is clearly losing the support of sectors D and E, the most numerous, least-politicized and least-interested in principled discourse among Lima’s voters. Meanwhile, she has been consistently rising in popularity among segments A and B, perhaps due to the messages of the opinion leaders and parties that are supporting the anti-recall campaign.


The mayor does not have a clear, positive, concrete and hopeful message for sectors D and E, which are composed of people who want to see their problems and basic needs addressed, and who want to have the possibility to look at the immediate future with optimism. They don’t care for complaints and tears.