For months, even before the presidential tickets were defined, electoral surveys began comparing scenarios and making prognostications for the PASO primaries. However, with the results now all but confirmed, not a single poll got the result correct.
Many gave an advantage to the opposition Frente de Todos grouping, but none was able to anticipate the 15 points of difference in favour of Alberto Fernández over President Mauricio Macri.
The Alberto Fernández-Cristina Fernández de Kirchner ticket received 47.36 percent of votes, compared to 32.24 percent for the Mauricio Macri-Miguel Ángel Pichetto ticket.
While most of the polls indicated an advantage to the Kirchnerite offering, few showed more than three or four points of difference with the current representative. Many polls even reflected that in recent weeks the difference between the two was smaller— with some even favouring Mauricio Macri—because of the relative calm of the dollar and the calming of markets.
In some cases, if a projection of undecided voters and a poll's margin of error were taken into account, figures from the surveys showed a statistical tie and an inevitable run-off.
Another surprise came in Buenos Aires Province, the country's most-populous district. This was one area that Juntos por el Cambio believed it would perform strongly with Governor María Eugenia Vidal, who had not even ruled out a few months ago heading an alternative presidential formula for the coalition under the so-called "Plan V."
Victory in Buenos Aires Province went to former economy minister Axel Kicillof, who received nearly half – 49.25 percent – of votes and emerged with a margin of more than 16 points compared to the incumbent, who got 32.6 percent, an advantage no poll predicted.
In the last poll released by Opinaia, Alberto Fernández prevailed by 35.8 percent against the 33.9 percent of Mauricio Macri, a difference of less than two points.
If undecided voters were taken into account, the difference narrowed to 1.2 percent: 37.6 percent to 36.4. As such, Management & Fit released its data showing an advantage of 1.9 points with 41.2 percent for Frente de Todos and 39.2 percent for Juntos por el Cambio.
The last PASO poll by Raúl Aragon and Associates, one of the firms that showed the biggest difference between the two tickets (more than six percent), showed Frente de Todos with 42.2 percent compared to the 35.9 percent for Juntos por el Cambio. That now in the cold light of day is one of the estimates that was closest to reality, even though it was nine points off from the final result.
The consultancy Marketing & Estadística showed a difference of seven points in favour of Fernández in July, but that difference narrowed to fourin the last week of polling.
Meanwhile, Real-Time Data predicted in the last week before the elections that the difference between the two candidates was barely one point: 39 to 38 in favor of Fernández.
However, in April the same pollster showed a 10 point advantage for Frente de Todos.