|The final assembly, maybe? Situation August 2010.|
The graph above was obtained with the following parameters:
- based on 2008 vote to account for local particularities that will affect the election no matter how hard Chavez tries to make it a plebiscite on him.
- local corrections as I saw them fit: from -15% for chavismo vote to no more than 5% opposition gain. That is I have assumed that chavismo and Chavez problems will increase abstention within chavismo ranks as its faithful cannot jump ship that easily in such a polarized atmosphere. In other words, election victory for the opposition is more a matter of chavistas staying home than them actually gaining lots of supporters, kind of like in 2007. Though with the expected gain from years of tiresome chavista incompetence.
- these corrections factors were "intuitively" based on: local conditions (A Polar manufacturing concern?), the behavior in 2007 and 2010 referenda, the intensity of national problems in a given area, and the local voting pattern since 2000 when necessary if the above did not show much light. See, maybe intuitive but also as much as possible an educated guess
- I believe that what is established above it is possible to apply a general electoral swing in the country, provided that one keeps in mind that abstention does not work the same for each side and in each region. I think that the higher the participation the better the chavista turnout, compensating at least in part any unfavorable swing. I am working on a prediction table of my own but I make no promises for it to be completed in a satisfactory way by election day though I hope to put up a workable version before (trust me, you do not want to hurry up as my preliminary sheets give me results less good than the one posted above! making me consider that at least some intuition might have been wishful thinking)
First , focus on the real seats: those are the ones that each side will win for sure. The effect of gerrymandering is seen most there. In my calculations (raw numbers from ESDATA) I have a 2008 chavista advantage of about 4 to 6 % and this one becomes a 2% opposition advantage in August as I went through my calculations, before the campaign. Reminder: chavismo got less than half the popular vote but once the minor scraps are removed then it actually got more votes than the opposition in 2008, like it or not. I have been strict with adding up opposition votes, not being afraid of discarding more than what I should have perhaps.
As I wrote long ago when I looked at the Venezuelan unfair electoral system, made worse through gerrymandering, I stated that the opposition needed to beat chavismo by at least 4 points to have an even seats result. This is what was happening in July/August when I made my initial calculations. Today I understand the situation is improving and I will try to update my predictions but I had to be consistent though my previous posts since the objective was to summarize the local political situations more than real predictions. If someone wants to pay me good money so I can take a leave of absence in my job and work 9 to 5 on this, let me know, you are still on time!
At any rate, from the picture above you can imagine easily the final image, after considering the possible outcomes.
The election will depend on how chavismo electoral machinery manages it. If they go out and vote they should get the 19 leaning PSUV and most of the too close to call and some of the leaning opposition. We are talking here of a result where the opposition cannot get more than 2% of over chavismo.
If the opposition gets 4 to 6% over chavismo then it gets its most of its 14 leaning seats, 5 of the too close to call and maybe 6 PSUV leaning, thus barely getting a majority.
With a 6 to 8% margin of victory then it gets all of its leaning seats, 8 of the too close to call and maybe 8 to 10 PSUV leaning. That is, right now, the best possible outcome I can see for the opposition. Think about it: the voting swing would have gone from -5%in 2008 to 6% at least in 2010, that is an 11% swing, very high under any circumstances. An excellent result also, under any circumstances, and the second real nail since 2007 in Chavez political coffin.
For chavismo to be cornered to its 62+ "safe seats" we need the opposition to get a larger than 8% majority, that is a 54 to 46 victory at the very least! Maybe but I do not see it because in too many regions (like my Yaracuy state) the opposition has a lot of work to do.
Finally, even if the opposition gets a good result the work is far from done. From the half pie chart above it is clear that chavismo is a block while the opposition is subjected to centrifugal forces. To temper that it is not idle to remind people that there are really two blocks inside the opposition: the ones coming from old AD ways (UNT and AD) and the one inspiring itself of COPEI precedent, (COPEI, PJ and PRVZL). They will all deny it of coruse but it is there and the old pride is there as for example Mendoza coming back at COPEI after having flirted elsewhere, making COPEI political ads.
Even if UNT seems the main beneficiary AD and COPEI are coming back and if PJ seems weak it is due that many of its potential wins are in the too close to call and leaning sectors of the half pie. The better the overall result the more important the PJ fraction will be whereas PVZL is not going to get more than what you see above.
We will see. As soon as I can I will review these predictions to make them as final as possible and maybe publish an excel sheets for those who want it.
NOTE!!!! Somehow a paragraph of extreme importance was lost in editing. Al what I wrote is dependent on the opposition putting its act together and monitoring at the very least effectively 80% of the balloting. If this does not happen the opposotion real margin could be of 15% and still chavismo will claim a higher vote count....