Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Venezuela News and Views final 2010 vote prediction (well, maybe)

Well, it is time to make a final prediction, and I am afraid that most readers of this blog will not like it.  And I may add that never was I so keen to be proven wrong.
Seats to be taken by the two sides in the legislative elections of 2010, according to the 2008 votes, the 2010 estimated potential and the rosy scenario with at least a 6% swing from chavismo to the opposition
In the figure above in red we have the number of seats the PSUV and allies will take and in blue what the Opposition will take.

How did I reach this?

First I analyze again the 2008 results based on ESDATA numbers and CNE numbers.  I decided where was the opposition division more deleterious and where it had the best chances to mend.  I also ruthlessly removed all the minor votes who if added to the strictu sensu opposition vote would have made an overall even result between chavismo and the "rest".  Considering the unfair electoral system and that in my calculations chavismo was beating the opposition in its strictest sense by up to 8%, we can see the lopsided victory chavismo would have gotten in 2008.

Then I applied my own "corrective factor" where I calculated almost district by district what percentage of votes chavismo would lose.  These varied from 5% to 15% but I also decided that the loss of chavismo did not result in an automatic transfer to the opposition.  Thus district by district the opposition rose from 0 to 10% though very rarely to 10%.  What I took into account to decide that factor was the 2008 vote compared to 2007 and 2009, weighed in by results in 2004 and even 2000 if needed, and how the recent catastrophes of chavismo affected some regions more than other (health care, electricity crisis, etc...).  When possible I also tried to account for the quality of the nature of the candidates though I did not put too much weigh on that as I suspected that Chavez would try to turn once again the election into a plebiscite around himself.  Which happened.

I did design a rudimentary but fair Excel sheet to help me along and on that basis the popular vote this time around would decant 49.5 to 50.5 IN FAVOR of chavismo.  That is, I am seeing a slight vote victory for chavismo and henceforth an amplified result in its favor: 96 seats to 69.  Keep in mind that I had to make a decision to grant a seat even if my excel sheet were giving me 1% difference, a factor small enough that it can be affected by local conditions (rain storm for example).  That is the difference between this unsparing bar graph and my Wednesday graph where I indulged in subjective ratings of "leaning" and "too close to call" districts.

I am intellectually comforted (but emotionally crushed) by the fact that the scarce serious polls available seem to indicate such an outcome.  That is, without polling, just though observation of tendencies over the years and my limited knowledge of local politics due to my lack of time to dig in and the scarce information that can be found through Google I still manage to coincide with pollsters who often do not bother studying the why of  their numbers (self patting on my back...).  For the record, I was Googling one of the opposition candidates the other day to verify its political affiliation for my last half moon chart and I was shocked to see that the only mention was the earlier post where I had named him!!!!!!!!!  Not even a facebook page!  The guy is on the web courtesy of this blog!  Whatever local rag he is reported upon does not have a web page!  Just to let you know that my job was harder than what I suspected when I started this series of posts.......

Yet I cannot resign myself to such a crappy outcome although I have given up totally on the democratic nature of the Venezuelan people as of February 2009.  People in Venezuela do know that Chavez is an incompetent piece of shit and yet they keep voting for him, so I suppose that they deserve him until he runs them to the ground once and for all on starvation diet.  But I digress. 

There are plenty of contradictions in the polls, the main ones is that large majorities complain about this and that and yet when cornered into the voting question a majority still votes for Chavez.  Are they scared?  Do they actually believe chavismo can figure out who they voted for?  Is chavismo just a religion, that in spite of all its fault they keep going back to church no matter what scandal explodes?  I suspect that the opposition will in the end prevail in votes.  Heck!  You cannot be a chavista, spend your recent life protesting that the regime is not fulfilling its promise and yet vote for Chavez as if nothing.  Something is wrong somewhere.....

Thinking hard about it I came up with an optimistic scenario where somehow the opposition will reach 52.9% of the vote.  This is in my opinion the very best that can be hoped.  Thus the chart above should be read as follows:
The opposition will get at least 69 seats but if all goes well, if the blip registered by chavismo in August did fade some though September, it could reach as much as 87 seats.  That is, the final result will be between 69 and 87, more likely closer to 69 than 87.

And of course chavismo cannot get less than 78 seats and will be very close to ensure the magic half at 83 seats with a fair chance at getting up to 96 seats.
Last but not least, as you read these numbers do not weep unnecessarily or become too optimistic.  Remember  that we are dealing with a thug regime and that for such regimes what matters is not democratic numbers but brute force.  Even if the CNE were to count all the votes as cast, the incredible cheating it allowed before the election for the campaign is already enough to cast a doubt on WHATEVER RESULT we told on 26S at night.


I will be busy these coming days, hence the publication in a rush of this entry.  If time allows, if I get new data (politicians who may read me, send data in all confidentiality) I might adjust some this prediction.  But right now I am calling it a victory for the PSUV.  If you do not like it you know what to do: go out, convince people, vote, stay behind after to make sure all votes are counted at your polling station.  That is THE ONLY way you have to affect the result, sorry! 

I might also publish my calculator sheet if I have time to polish it some.  That is, to make it more understandable for ease in use.  Right now it is designed for my own special use so it would not be of much good for me to make it public as it is.  Nor would it be very comforting for you to put numbers in it that will not happen, such as a 10 point swing.  Time to go down to earth and realize that the battle against Chavez does not end next Sunday, EVEN if we were to get 100 seats!

You can be at least happy with one thing: I am predicting that through unity and putting its act together at least partially the opposition will go from the 40 seats it would have got in 2008 to at least 69 this year.  In any political system in the world this is good and bearing of good tidings for future contests. 


  1. "Is chavismo just a religion, that in spite of all its fault they keep going back to church no matter what scandal explodes?"

    I'm afraid that is a big possibility. The guy from Hinterlaces confirm this view in a TV interview.

    A religion? A cult of the poor is a more accurate description. Like Scientology for celebrities.

  2. geha

    Chavismo as Scientology for the poor....


  3. Ken Price4:41 PM

    Chavismo is the triumph of hope over reality.

  4. Thanks for the compliment.

    IMHO, Chavismo will win but won't get the the 2/3 the "comandante presidente wants". Why this, despite the state of the country? In part, the gerrymandering of the CNE garantees a PSUV majority no matter what, thanks to the overrepresentation of the small states. Your 2010 prediction is more or less what I see, but maybe opposition can make the low seventies.

    The "religious element" is probably the other factor: That some people still believe that Chavez is the only choice, despite the trail of death, corruption and misery, shows an emotional dependence that can't be logically explain. They have taken a leap of faith, which has blind them from reality.

    I see a growth of the opposition in all states, and some states could become competitive for the future. The blackouts could put Anzoategui, Falcon and Monagas in play, beside making Nueva Esparta and Tachira hardcore opposition.

    Chavez started the campaign with a bang, but reality has slow him down. However, this is a struggle where he has huge and unfair advantages. Just the fact the government pollster admits that the difference is of 5 points, makes me somewhat optimistic.

    PS: Do you put PPT with the opposition in your numbers and how you see the PPT effect in other states beside Lara?

  5. Maybe abstention will occur among those who say they will vote for Chavez even though they complain bitterly about the government not having done a good job, yet still planning to vote for him anyway.They might be too scared to admit to an interviewer that they are not voting for Chavez but not THAT scared as to not stay home on the day of election.

    Under these distorted circumstances that Venezuelans are living it might be impossible for any poll to actually obtain reliable results..In a poll's attempt to objectivity they can ignore certain factors that one can personally experience or use intuition to pick up on.

    For many Chavez is a son of a bitch , but he is THEIR son of a bitch.When people identify very strongly with someone from their culture or clan and when these same people feel they are elevated through the elevation of their chosen one,this is a hard to beat combo.
    Narcissism begets narcissism.

  6. I think it is a lot more direct. PSUV party hacks go around telling folks that if PSUV does not win in their parish they can kiss Mercal and everything else goodbye! Which is exactly what Chavez was saying about not funding opposition Cities and States a few posts back.

  7. Ken Price said...

    Chavismo is the triumph of hope over reality.
    10:11 AM

    That's what it is, the line is just brilliant

  8. Celina12:30 AM

    I´m being selfish here and hope you are wrong because probably the result of the Venezuela vote will influence the Brazilian one, a week later. No scandal seems to alter both results, that will probably empower the winners to increase their defiance of institutions, and thus, democracy. Sad times ahead, my friend!

  9. Thanks for your very detailed predictions.

    I also hope you are wrong this time and we get better results.

    It will be hard to explain the thing with the votes to most people. I have talked to some people in Carabobo who are very very very oppo and who constantly tell me about the so many attacks and corruption scandals they personally know from Chavismo and yet they did not know how big the gerrymandering there is. Actually, very few people explained that there: "cambiaron los circuitos para favorecer al oficialsmo" was about it, some study in El Universal and El Nacional, which few people but our choir read.

  10. Actually, the big problem (and this was shown in the Hinterlaces poll) is whatever people think of Chavez, there is a segment that won't vote for the opposition either (the so-called "ni-ni").

    In this sense, Venezuela greatly differs from the US where the if the party in power is unpopular, the opposition can garner a majority by merely being the alternative. To wit, the Republicans are poised to make big gains the US despite offering nothing no concrete plan for governance if given power. Yes, they are set to issue some manifesto, but it won't be a coherent plan just a set of vague platitudes.

    Perhaps this difference owes to chavismo's domination of the media and state resources.

  11. celina

    there is a difference. in brazil at least lula got some positive results, economic AND social. chavez got nothing as his meager social results are crumbling fast. thus it is simply unforgivable that people vote again for chavez. sunday will simply prove once again that venezuela deep down is not a democratic country, but that rubicon was crossed in full in february 2009.

    the people who vote for chavez sunday belong to three groups: the bloodsuckers, the cult members and those who want chavez to hurt the other side. when such a coalition gets an electoral majority in a country democracy is done with. it did happen in peron's argentina, and it probably would have happened in germany and italy if they had held free elections in 1935 or 1925. but times were different then and hitler and mussolini could not be bothered taking such risk as chavez keeps taking (with all the necessary cheating of course).

    fortunately such a complete coalition is a rare event but when it happens through vote (venezuela and argentina) or after some forced take over (cuba, zimbabwe, iran, germany, italy) consequences are always catastrophic in the long run because the social fabric of the country never recovers until a massive national disaster finally puts away the coalition.

  12. I don't think we have to go any farther than Fox News and Glenn Beck to see a phenomenon that is equally as depressing as Chavismo in Venezuela. Lets tick it off: 1. a man of limited intelligence who 2. finds he has a knack for TV theatre 3. irresponsibly says whatever he wants to 4. generate an ever larger audience that 5. forgets it's capable of thinking for itself because 6. the guru strokes their bruised egos and 7. demonstrates that their are millions of deluded people around the country that 8. want to have a political impact by 9. insulting "enemies" and 10. lying about serious subjects because 11. in the end what the guru says becomes "reality" until 12. the whole house of cards falls to the ground when 13. Sarah Palin is elected president and 14. thinks that if she just thinks "small town" 15. everything will be alright even if 16. she is painfully out of her depth.

    As "Marciano" wrote recently in one of his pithy commentaries in Vea: Chavistas have earned the right to say "yes, my government is crap, but it's MY government." Small town thinking ...

  13. Gabriel Cisneros,

    You are giving Chavez a compliment by comparing him to Beck .

    I am not even slightly a fan of Beck BUT by equating him with Chavez shows us that you think what is not politically correct has to be authoritarian and undemocratic.

    Your comment uses ridicule and eliminates the possibility of debate just as you claim Beck and Chavez do.

    Your thinking is typically authoritarian in that if politics are not as you like them, then they are already at Chavez's level.Plurality of view should be encouraged AND respected.


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