Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Pollster Keller throws a big stone in everybody's pond

My favorite pollster (which is not saying much), and apparently Globovison's official one now, has just published his latest findings, from the first two weeks of November field work.  In other words, we can call that one the first significant poll since the primary campaign of the Unidad started though it certainly will not asses the impact of the first debate, and even less the second one.

The good news is that there is no surprise.  The end of the "I am sick" effect of Chavez is coming and people are getting back to their everyday misery.  As such Chavez numbers are starting to go south again.  The bad news, if you will, is that there is still that 30%+ hard core chavista that will vote for him no matter what depraved action he may commit.  But so do work cults and chavismo today is a cult whose high priests are the ones gaining wealth through corruption.  Or something like that, I am stopping to care as the effect is the same: a destroyed country.  But I digress, let's get back to the poll highlights.

The first thing that I want to note is that according to his poll Keller says that crime is the overriding issue.  But this an urban area poll, and the Gumilla center poll specific to the lower classes sectors ((E and D) was that getting a real job was their real problem.  As such my first conclusion is that Keller's poll is probably too directed towards the middle and up (C, B and A) and thus maybe not as representative as it should be.  However this is good news for Leopoldo Lopez because the bulk of primary election voters should be coming from C, B and A as it is not clear yet whether the Perez and Capriles strategy to woo E and D chavista to vote for the primary will work out.

A positive thing for the opposition is that in the last 4 quarters more than 80% of the folks report having experienced scarcity of some food item, mainly milk.  So if A, B, and C report that you may be sure that D and E are in the front line of bitching at that. And the cause is clearly seen by the population which blame Chavez expropriation policies for scarcity and underemployment by 61% against the 25% of the faithful (note: 25%, which means that even his solid 30+ ain't as solid as one may expect).

In graphs the decline of Chavez is clear no matter how well made the poll is (reminder: in Venezuela look at trends, never at numbers in polls or you are going to be always disappointed). Click to enlarge, explication below the graph.

This is the long term trending poll of Keller by trimester when data is available (observe that some quarters are missing).  When the dissatisfaction reigns, red line, Chavez is in trouble: 2002 coup, 2007 referendum lost, 2008 and 2010 electoral losses (but 2009 blue small peak gave him the eternal reelection referendum).  Now the dissatisfaction line has been up for two years in spite of already one year of "mision vivienda" and other such crap.

Which brings us to the personal popularity of Chavez which sorts of follow the above except on punctual cases like the "cancer boost" in the third trimester of 2011 at the end.  A sharp favorable blue peak that is already getting ready to cross the red line of unpopularity.

This is a very interesting graph because it follows the oil boom that started in 2003: easy money in the streets, at least for some.  The blue line of people who think the general situation is from average to good has been up since 2003 (remember, ignorance allows many to think that all is fine just because they get a bag from Mercal for free on occasion).  But look how it has started to drop sharply this year as finally the effect of two years of recession is catching up with the hoi polloi.  And this in spite of pumping more money in the streets through Mision Vivienda....

The questions regarding the primaries say that 41% are "certain" to vote in the primary.  I doubt that it will be the percentage; however it predicts a good turnout and I have written in an older post that the Unidad primary will be considered a success if they manage to have at least 2 million votes (which means that the Unidad candidate has 4 million as starting capital).  So we are on track.

The big news here is that Keller confirms his earlier finding that Chavez can be beaten at the polls; and that now three of the primary candidates are perceived as able to beat Chavez.

Capriles, Perez and Lopez could beat in early November Chavez, though only Capriles escaped the margin of error of the poll, around 3%.  I do not see how the primary campaign could change that result, if anything it will make it easier for any of these three to reach the 50% intention of vote as the general election campaign will start in March.

This graph is the first complete polling study of the 5 primary candidates (Medina was not in yet).  It is a graph to be taken with a grain of salt because in the earlier quarters polling data was not as strict as it is becoming now.  Also, there is no debate influence in that poll.  That is why Arria appears only in the 4th trimester whereas the other 4 were already followed, directly or indirectly (Keller does not admit it but we know better, don't we?).

There is no surprise really.  Perez started his dramatic growth once he became the official candidate.  I would not extrapolate a continuous growth but he is in good shape and going up.  Lopez was declining until the IACHR gave its ruling and he showed a big rebound.  Capriles floats up and and down above the rest but that is what you expect for someone who run alone for a few months until his two main rivals could finally become full fledged candidates.  Maria Corina Machado is way down but her debating skills should give her a 10% next time, essential if she wants to be credible in January.

Thus as I wrote two posts ago, the election is set to polarize between Capriles and either Perez or Lopez.  My big concern here is that considering that there is no second round balloting I truly hope that whomever wins does it with at least 30% of the ballots otherwise.....  And right now this is not happening, early November or today after two debates.


  1. Anonymous2:10 AM

    With regard to the hard core 30% + Chavinista voting block....

    This has always been fundamental to understanding the "appeal" of Hugo Chavez to the Venezuelan electorate. The trick was quite simple. He has made a large percentage of the Venezuelan electorate "dependant" on the state. It's an amazing phenomenon unique to Venezuela. This dependancy is only possible in very few countries around the globe. It's been tried elswhere, but has failed miserably for one simple reason. Within a few years most countries cannot afford trying to envelop a large portion of the population into government dependancy. They go bankrupt. Everything collapses quickly. Chavez is successful because of one golden goose, PDVSA. Without it he would be dead. Now, PDVSA is slowly going bankrupt. It's a freaking mess of a company. Which will last longer? ....the golden goose? ...or Hugo Chavez?

  2. Glenn7:17 AM

    I wonder if the Chinese are going to help push Venezuela over the edge or bring them back from the precipice? They are funding a lot of nonsense.

  3. Chabezu no baka5:53 PM


    Actually, it isn't just about those who are dependent upon the state for money, but those whose freedom is dependent upon having a state where police work is entirely dedicated to beating up opposition instead of capturing criminals.

    You cannot get the degree of criminality (robberies, kidnappings, corruption, murders, narcotraffic) they have in Venezuela without at least a 25% of the population being involved in it. And that 25% knows that if there's ever an actual justice system in Venezuela, they'll end up in jail, so they need Chavez to stay in power. They are diehard chavistas because they know only under Chavez can they enjoy so much impunity.

    So Chavez not only counts on those who are dependent upon the state's money, but also those who are dependent upon the state's incompetence.

  4. Anonymous8:42 PM

    @Chabezu no baka said...

    That's really an interesting point. I hadn't thought about that. One would think that under a one man, one party dictatorship the crime problem would slowly diminish. It hasn't. It's gotten worse,...much worse. It's as if the criminals are purposely kept out of jail to terrorize the opposition.

    As per my first point, you'll note that the Cardon and Amuay refineries have been shut down the past few days,...thus laying fewer golden eggs. The financial implications to the Chavez government are staggering. That entire refinery complex is being held together by duct tape and bailing wire. One day soon,...it will simply implode.

  5. Anonymous11:07 PM

    All these Polls make pretty pictures, but in the end Chavez has 2 million phantom voters ready in the Cuban
    flash drives to ensure the party continues to party

  6. CharlesC2:00 AM

    Gonna have to make a call
    to the "Spirit in the Sky".
    The song says:
    "Prepare yourself when you
    know everything is a 'front' "
    Chavez thinks he's
    "sitting pretty"-ie. invincible.
    The people have to wake up
    and be clearly heard. I know
    the "love affair" is over.


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