Friday, May 28, 2010

The Keller poll: trouble ahead for Chavez, and for us...

Unless of course he changes policies but good luck with that...

Keller, my favorite pollster in spite of some electoral mistakes in the past has published his trimestral survey of what he does best: evaluate trends.  Even though I do not dwell much on polls this one deserves a report.

UPDATED: I got a better PDF of the Keller poll.  Now the post is complete.

The bad

The poll covers only 78% of the country population in urban centers of more than 20K folks.  In other words it is useless as a predictor of September results since rural areas are disproportionately represented: 1 urban vote of Maracaibo is roughly equivalent to 0.3 vote of, say, Amazonas or Yaracuy (the reason I vote in Yaracuy as I could be registered in Caracas if I wanted too).

The good

Survey done late April, early may.  So it is the first one to measure the effect of the devaluation and electrical crisis on the population's mood.  A tad early perhaps but on time enough to start sensing it.

The basic result

Venezuelans en masse reject all the attacks Chavez has been doing on private property.  The more Chavez speaks of "socialism" the more turned off are the people.  It seems now that the bad results are finally catching up.  The opposition starts favorably its campaign, but many things can happened until September 26.

The details

How do people see expropriation?

80% of the people think that it cannot be justified to nationalize a well managed and productive private enterprise.  Clear result, no?

What are the results of expropriation?

This is examining what people think of some of the most noteworthy state take over. In order: phone company, Caracas electric power, Santander bank in Venezuela, steel complex of Guyana, Zulia oil industry contractors, cement complexes, cattle farms.  In purple the percentage of those who think that these companies have turned for the worse.  The right column is the difference between those who think it turned for the worse and those who think it improved.  Clear result, no?

Does Venezuela need a change?

And now the "psychological" effect of one year of crisis and going.  Does Venezuela need a change?  70% say YES.  When these 70% are asked what kind of change they have in mind 61% want a change of government, which is roughly 50% of the voters!

 Preliminary voting patterns

Last, how the voting intention I moved from the start of the year to today.  4 months of harsh "cadenas" and seizures and repression have only given chavismo 1 point (in red, "oficialismo" office holders).  The opposition in spite of its lethargy and mistakes still manages to grow by 3 points.  But, and this is a warning, toward "independent candidates".  That must be read as a weak progression if the opposition does not solve some of the problems left by its candidate selection process.


As I have written several times already, looking at that last slide the election is for the opposition to lose.  And it is quite possible still...

As for Chavez, after such a poll, expect the worst reaction.


  1. Daniel, I am deeply cautious about the relevance of those questions. Venezuelans have said over and over that they do not want state socialism, etc and yet a big part of those who say so keep voting for Chavez.
    It is the same now. Basically, as long as he lets them go to the beach and dance el meneaíto and el pegadito and have a beer (that's why I wrote last time "make my day, close Polar if you dare") they are happy.

    I was listening to a BBC programme on Cuba and the guys in a miserable village kept talking
    about how good life was there with the music and the rhum and the dance.
    Venezuelans tend to be like Cubans.

  2. Last night I called a few friends, both 100 % anti Chavez.The first is depressed in Caracas and can hardly talk because when she decided to leave and sell her house,and she finally found a buyer , unfortunately NOW she cannot take the money out of the country.In the end however she told me that she didn't like to talk about problems, and that she and others, like to concentrate on the good only, otherwise they couldn't take it.

    The other friend lives in Margarita.She lives near the Sacred Mountain of Guayamuri.Lordy lordy she said she had never been happier, but because, even though the country is really bad right now, there are many wonderful spiritual groups popping up and she named one group similar to the " Secret" which was brought to Venezuela by a US American .He had 1,000 people in his group paying who knows how much money for the course.An astute business man can take quite an advantage of a situation where so many are suffering.( sorry if I offend anyone)....On several occasions during our conversation she became terrified because she lived on a dead end road and her dogs were barking.She thought it could have been robbers trying to steal her water pump that she didn't have a lock for.Admitting that crime was through the roof,for several hours, through her detailed explanations, we talked, and while we talked this happened 3 o 4 times- dogs barking at unknown entities.I could feel her fear through the phone.
    In the end she emphasized how happy she was, like a mantra.

    The above stories are stories of denial, confusion, fear and psychological survival.Chavez( and group) count on these kinds of stories.They form the foundation of his process.These are the stories that show a people cowing down into uneasy acceptance . Little , by little, there will come a time when most will not know what happened or even remember exactly what DID happen.This is how it works, unless Unity is reached and strong measures are taken.

    Put that one on a poll.

  3. Roger4:12 AM

    I will go with the numbers from the Expropriations and Change in Government. After that they might as well asked " Do you have an "" Impeach Chavez"" bumper sticker on your Car"? There is true fear of answering questions honestly to anyone in Venezuela. All we can hope for is that they vote without fear like many did last time in place like Petire!


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