Friday, December 07, 2007

The 2007 result: general trend

Even though this Friday morning the Venezuelan Electoral Board, CNE, has not emitted its second bulletin since the wee hours of Monday morning, a scandalous thing, we can start looking at the results anyway. After all, no matter what the bulletin will say this afternoon, if indeed all results are published this afternoon, the general trend is clear and we can look at it. The detailed results after all are more important to illustrate specific points from the general results.

As I have said in previous discussions of electoral results in Venezuela: I have a limited faith in the exact numbers emitted by the CNE. After all, the secrecy around the CNE is enough to make anyone doubt about which are its real intentions. However, no matter how much fudging the CNE might or might not be doing, the trends are difficult to hide and can thus always can be detected. To hide trends would require major fudging and fortunately there are enough controls to protect from gross manipulation.

With these provisions stated, here is the first table of results. You will need to click in a new window to enlarge. In further posts I will go into regional results some of them being very, very interesting. But I need the full count and the real abstention for discussing them properly. Also, if the final results alter this table significantly, which I doubt, I will republish it as needed.

First, the basic result. The red square show where the SI won and the blues square where the NO won, with the final result at the bottom in a darker blue square. This is a retake of my predictions chart.

This would seem a priori a narrow victory of no real importance, but it is not. If it is not a decisive victory for the opposition, it is still a major defeat for chavismo, a defeat pregnant with future problems if the Supremo does not amend his ways some, or kicks the table board. But this is only understood when we go into more details.

The first thing to do is to calculate how many votes chavismo lost and how many the opposition won. The two columns on the right look at how many votes each side won or lost by regions. This is calculated, for the sake of simplification, by comparing the Chavez and Rosales votes of 2006 with the SI and NO votes respectively in 2007.

Let's start with chavismo losses. They are remarkably uniform. In all regions chavismo lost at least 1/3 of its 2006 votes. The region where it lost the least was the Andes and the one where it lost the most was Guyana. The spread between the two is 11.7% (from 34% to 45.7%, orange highlights). Now, of course when the CNE missing 10% is added today this will improve some, but the trend is here to stay.

But when we look at the opposition things become quite different. To begin with, the opposition ACTUALLY LOSES votes in two regions, in Andes and Zulia! Amazingly Rosales, one of the big leaders of the NO campaign cannot find his own numbers in Zulia 2006, his home state. However elsewhere the opposition gains some, to a maximum of 13.7% in the industrial center. The two "negative growth" regions and the top "positive growth" region are highlighted in lilac.

what can we make of this rather startling result?

1) There was an opposition abstention. If we judge from the Andes and Zulia we can see that this opposition abstention was probably in the 6 to 10% range, which is to be expected in a referendum election, less exciting than a presidential election.

2) Why did the opposition grew elsewhere? Regional explanations often, to be discussed in future posts.

3) The spread between results of the opposition is also important: from -8.5% to 13.7% we get 22.2% spread!!!! Almost the double than the Chavez results spread of 11.7%!

Preliminary conclusions:

Both chavismo and opposition suffered abstention. This is normal since we are in a referendum, an election that draws less voters than a presidential election.

The opposition made up some of its abstention from chavismo. That "recuperation" varies greatly from one region to another.

The nearly 3 million votes that chavismo is supposedly missing include in fact as much as half a million opposition abstention (pale blue highlights). The opposition 4.5 million votes might include as much as 500 000 chavista votes.

More observations and conclusions in future posts, stay tuned.

-The end-

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