Friday, March 22, 2013

Electoral numbers for 14/04: December 2012 reality

In the post October funk, followed by the January 9 coup, I never got around to analyze the December 2012 governor result. Not that it mattered much but if we want seriously to evaluate any chances Capriles may have in three weeks, we need to understand the most recent results  namely the comparison between Chavez October victory and December sympathy vote. A single graph will suffice, comments after the jump.

Numbers from CNE, rounded up, in hundred of thousand votes, including or not "dissident" candidates depending on how big their vote was. Excluding embassies and Caracas which did not vote in December.

The first thing to look at is the bottom right of the graph were we can see that the opposition abstained proportionately more than chavismo. There is the secret on how we managed to retain only three state houses....  As a meager consolation  if instead of dropping by 35.9% we had dropped by 20% we still would have gained only Zulia and Bolivar. Admittedly with Zulia and Bolivar with us today for the flash campaign we would be in much, much better shape. But there is no point crying over spilled milk: the opposition lost so badly in December because it gave up. Period. No excuses.

But there is our first lesson for April 14: if you do not go and vote, the CNE does not need to cheat, you are handling it to Maduro straight on a silver tray and you have no grounds to complain after. Got that?

Still, we can nuance some the dark results above. For example, we can explain the switches from October results on the basis of local candidates. Taking Lara, Reyes Reyes, former governor, wanted to repeat but his memory has been so dismal that sympathy vote for Chavez notwithstanding he lost, and lost badly.  At least we have a tiny silver shred here: if Maduro wins he has no incentive to keep Reyes Reyes in his entourage since the main reason he was around was because of his bond with Chavez.

The most pathetic case of opposition voter demobilization comes from Tachira where we cannot even put the blame squarely on a not so great candidate for reelection  True, there were no primaries in Tachira and the victim part decided to run anyway as a dissident. But he did not get 1% of the vote and his performance certainly was not enough to explain such a dramatic reversal of fortune  In Tachira it is were we have one of the lowest drop in chavismo votes and one where we have one of the highest opposition vote drop. That does not offer us a clear explanation.

Our second lesson comes from the realization that the sympathy vote for Chavez illness was not as big a factor as the MUD tries to advance as an excuse for its incompetent December campaign. Incompetent may be a harsh judgement but clearly the opposition had put all of its eggs in a Capriles victory basket and there was no coordination for December. Even if Capriles had remained aloof from Miranda I doubt very much that as a "all around campaign leader" for December he would have avoided that disaster.  Maybe Zulia?  Maybe Bolivar? That is all he could have salvaged and today who knows whether he would have the punch he showed in Naguanagua yesterday.

If I go back to my failed predictions for October 2012, I was getting roughly the total votes of Capriles and predicting a narrow victory for him if abstention was high. Abstention was low and we know what happened.    If we take Capriles number of October and shave away 10 % we get 5400.  If we take Chavez in October and shave off 25% we get 5600. Which is close enough of what I predicted in October and is higher by 600 from what chavismo got in fact in December. Truly, was the sympathy vote that big? What mattered most then: sympathy or electoral machinery?

I regret not having done that table earlier because since December like almost everyone, from chavismo to MUD, I assumed that the result was due to sympathy for Chavez illness and we clearly see that this was not the lone factor, and maybe not the main one.

I'll try to think about this "mistake by omission" of mine and write more on future posts.  But may this serve as an abject lesson for me: in a funk or not, electoral analysis must ALWAYS be made.


  1. Daniel, have you read "The Signal and The Noise" by Nate Silver? He ran the most accurate models for the US elections this past November, and he's a really brilliant statistician. His daily updates on his FiveThirtyEight Blog were exciting!

    1. Yes, I am somewhat familiar, at least with the NYT blog.

      But I am no statistician and I doubt Venezuela is as subject to modeling as the US or Europe. We saw it last October where no pollster came reasonably close, and if they did they blundered badly on local predictions and what not (Datanalisis anyone?).

  2. margareth3:09 PM

    Well if you see this youtube of Chavez which Maduro & combo doesn't want you to see.....he will lose all over Venezuela!!!!

  3. Anonymous9:36 PM

    This time abstention will be aroun 25% and 30%, if Capriles keeps his 6,5millions and gets at least 9% more he will win.

  4. You are giving us 3 IF.........

  5. Sorry, but all of these numbers ans speculations are an exercise in futility.. Maduro and his fellow thugs will do whatever it takes to steal the elections, again. Cheat, bribe, threaten, offer millions left and right, even physical violence or murder. Capriles has no chance under such corrupt system and those bastards, Maduro, etc, just won't play fair at all, they are starved for more money and power.

    1. If you have nothing to offer besides bouts of hysteria I suggest you tone them down.


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