Maybe that should be two entries: "Can Capriles win?" and "Should Capriles win?". Since tonight is Maundy Thursday let's assume that we have met some form of redemption and that indeed there is a chance for Capriles to win. What would be the conditions?
First, it is clear that Capriles campaign is the one making the news while the Maduro one makes the negative news. Not that in a recently still heavily messianic country this matters much but one thing seems clear, it looks like Capriles may make it to at least his October number whereas Maduro is not likely to make it to Chavez last score. Thus the first condition: Capriles makes it to his October number, 6.6 million votes.
I think that the opposition is in a revival of sorts and the abstention sirens are fading some. Also, it is clear that Maduro is not making unanimity in his camp. It is not that far-fetched that the opposition votes Capriles may lose may be made up by some chavistas getting tired of the whole thing, in particular the blackmailed ones finding new nerve. Thus 6.6 millions it is.
The second condition is that Maduro cannot capitalize on the sympathy vote as he hopes too. It is not idle to remind the reader that when Chavez was not directly in the ballot his scores where lower and he even lost twice (2007, 2010). No matter how big the emotional manipulation this one is not guaranteed to bring all the faithful to the ballot box, and, may even backfire. Allow me to remind you a post barely a week old where I expressed my doubts as to the existence of a true sympathy vote. That would be no more than 6.1 million votes (deducted from the tables in a three days old entry).
Of course Maduro may still overcome that difference as I explained, but it is not as easy as one would have been thinking a week ago.
For all its power, the "drive in the vote machinery" of chavismo has its limitations. Just to go and fetch 100,000 voters at least 10.000 vehicle doing a round trip with an average of 10 voters per truck. Certainly possible but still a daunting task to do when the paid folks that do the work may be asking more than 6 months ago while they are less motivated.
Blackmailing has its limits. Once Chavez is gone and once it is becoming clearer that the regime is not working as well as it did under Chavez repression wise, less people will be scared to vote for the opposition, or stay at home. After all they may just decide to leave home of the day least someone comes knocking at their door. Electoral hookie if you please.
This was all well explained by Semtei on TV last night but with rosier numbers. When I looked at mine I still agreed that a Capriles victory is possible. But then again I thought it possible last October if abstention was high. We all know what happened. The question here is whether Maduro can pull it off. I think he still can but I am advancing now that he will get at least 1 million less votes than Chavez. That is, I am putting my neck forward that Maduro is not going to get more than 7.2 million votes.
So right now Capriles 6.6 and Maduro 7.2. Two weeks of campaign left......