Now that we have looked at the December result of state elections, we can try to evaluate the rock bottom total for the oncoming April 14 flash election.
But first let me give you the caveat. This flash presidential election is extremely volatile On one side you have a triumphant chavismo which won two elections in a row but with a dead leader which is milked for all its worth to obtain a sympathy vote so as to secure a succession. On the other hand the economy slide that started in the last quarter of 2012 is forging ahead, with a renewed inflation, two back to back devaluations and a scarcity index on the rise while the regime has not even made a pretense to fulfill any of the promises of the dead 2012 candidate. Condiment this with an opposition whose unity seems resilient and a way more combative candidate playing on a background of doom.
You will agree with me that predictions are almost as useless as polls. Yet, we still must try to peruse the crystal ball and at this point the only thing that I dare to do is to try to evaluate which is the least amount of votes that each side will get. Which means, that in a very emotional election, each of the three scenarios I present is meaningless in that an emotional upswing a few days before the election will decide the winner either way. I know, sounds like a cope out but stay with me and you will understand, maybe, I hope, perhaps better than I do myself.
Note: in the three scenarios I took a wild guess at Caracas and embassy votes that did not take place last December.
The result here is a tie. That is, the election will be close and all sorts of charges of cheating will be levied. Political mess is sure to follow whomever wins. I assume of course that cheating will not go beyond the normal cheating observed until now, that is, the CNE will be forced to announce a narrow victory for either side, cheating not having been strong enough to give a decisive advantage to Maduro.
It is also important to note that such a scenario is likely to be influenced by the "celebrations" of April 11-13, the three days before the vote. Either people get sick of it or they come back to chavismo glories... Which is the basis of the next two scenarios if you will.
In this scenario I look at state by state intuition as to whether chavismo or the opposition improve better their chances in comparison with December 2012. For example above my mean for Tachira is 284, but now I raise that to at least 300. Not more because the state being now ruled by a chavista it is difficult for the opposition electoral machinery to work as well as it did last October.
On the other hand in a state like Trujillo where in December we were trashed, I doubt very much that we will have a better recovery and instead of the 89 above I ruthlessly give only 50 thousand to Capriles.
I applied the same "gut feeling" for chavismo and the result is surprisingly not very different for Capriles who improves only 50 whereas Maduro gains 200. The election is close, Maduro is weakened inside chavismo as he did not recover Chavez October's numbers, but he wins nevertheless, a legal ruler if not a legitimate one.
This scenario keeps assuming that abstention is high because people are fed up with elections, something observed worldwide when elections follow too closely each other.
This scenario is a more optimistic variation for us. In it I assume that Capriles does recover his October result but as a consequence, his strong campaign also decreases the abstention number within chavismo and the 47% afraid to lose their freebies will find a way to return to the polls on April 14. In short I assume Capriles recovers his vote and that chavismo gets its December vote with some improvements. Again, my gut feeling according to the different states.
Unfortunately this result is no better than the one in scenario 2. In fact, chavismo gets a 0,1% more...
Still, this exercise leaves us with some information.
First, if the opposition does not go to vote, Capriles loss is certain, without need for the CNE to cheat more than usual. Once and for all those that promote abstention without any other plan of action would be well advised to shut up. After all, you can only claim your ballot was stolen if you cast it. If you did not go and vote you cannot claim that an non-existent ballot was stolen.
Second, abstention again is the key, except that this time around there is no guarantee that the get out the vote will work as well as it did in October: not as much money to pay, not anymore the beloved leader on the top. That is where the real uncertainty comes from chavismo whose blackmail machinery is supposed to be as fearful as it was last October.
Third, the opposition will likely lose but by a lesser margin which, in my opinion considering the circumstances may be quite a good result. I will even happily settle for scenario 3, as Maduro will be greatly weakened and a division of chavismo as the economic crisis intensifies is nearly certain while the blame will be put squarely on chavismo.
Thus I differ from people like Alek Boyd who already call for a landslide for Maduro or from pollsters that give a solid lead for Maduro that is nowhere to be seen. At least for these eyes who see him winning, but by a narrow margin. Of course, depending on how willing is the CNE to fatten that margin, something that the MUD would be well advised to face down before April 14.