Archive for November 14th, 2008

While some polls offer contradictory views, majority favors significant opposition gains

November 14, 2008

While I tend to leave electoral predictions to others, I
have had access to four different polls in the last week that I thought I would
relay to you. Had I only seen three of them I would be pleased as punch in
conveying this information. However, it is precisely the poll that I promised
not to comment publicly on that gives the most negative picture for the
opposition on the upcoming regional elections. Thus, I will only make general
comments of what I have seen so far and will update before the week is over if
there is any relevant change.

Essentially, of the four polls I have had access to, all
of them give the opposition three states, Sucre, Nueva Esparta and Tachira,
with two states going to Chavez dissidents in Guarico and Portuguesa.

Had I not seen the fourth poll, I would also be telling
you that the opposition would win Zulia, Carabobo and Miranda, which in itself
will be a large victory, given that the opposition currently has only two
states. This last poll however suggests the opposition may lose all three.

At the same time, the other three pollsters give Zulia and
Carabobo outright to the opposition and suggest a victory in Miranda State. In
fact, in a public poll Consultores 21 says that Henrique  Capriles is leading Diosdado Cabello by
three percentage points. However, the argument by Consultores 21 is that
Cabellos rejection in Miranda by the voters is so high (above 45%) that it
seems impossible for him to pull a victory off.

In Barinas State, Chavez home state two of the pollster
suggest a possible victory by the dissident Chavista, giving at least a defeat
for the Government that will garb huge headlines.

Three of the four polls, with the same one being the
dissident one, suggest that in the Caracas Metropolitan Area, the opposition
will win the Alcaldia Mayor and three of the municipalities, losing only in the
Libertador District, where former VP and Head of the CNE Jorge Rodriguez is
leading the race.

Curiously, all four pollsters suggest the opposition may
win more than 40% of all Mayor races, which will certainly change the political
map of Venezuela on its own.

In the end, if the opposition were to win in six to eight
States and 40% of the municipalities, it would be a tremendous gain compared to
the current state of affairs. Chavez knows he needs to win big if he is going
to push for his indefinite reelection and three of the four polls suggest he
will lose in the effort.

In the end, the monkey wrench in the whole thing will be
abstention. Large abstention appears to favor the Government and Chavez
attempt at radicalizing the process seems to be aimed at that. Most polls
indicate that abstention will be low, which is hard to believe in a country
where only Presidential races attract votes.

Hopefully, the three pollsters that coincide will be the
correct ones so that the opposition may create a more balanced picture in
Venezuelan local politics. If we lose, Chavez is likely to push for “his”
referendum next year and the possibility of his perpetuation in power is simply
too scary and depressing to even try to think about it.