Monday, February 13, 2012

Capriles in, AD out, Chavez shaking


The title summarizes quite well the momentous results of last night, and momentous they were.

The participation

With 3 million people finding their way to the voting stations the primary overcame all expectations, including the ones of yours truly who was the lone voice around saying that we were going to go above 2 million.  In fact in January 11 I was talking 3 millions but in front of negative reactions from readers and colleagues I went down to 2.5 millions (a bet I made last Saturday).  So folks, I take full credit for that prediction which I will call a victory for me, just as I predicted the 69 seats of 2010.  Datanalisis is my only challenger as of today (for that I eat some crow because I did not believe their 62% poll of last week for Capriles).

Now, after this self congratulatory note let's get into business: the outcome yesterday was fantastic.  And it was due in part to Chavez mistakes in pissing so many people off.  Truly it was a protest vote as even chavista areas did show a significant voting activity even if less than anti Chavez areas.  If we assume the political dictum that at most a primary outcome represents less than half of the final outcome, this means that the opposition has 6 million safe for next October.  Which is why Chavez is shaking so badly today.  True, these were special and unusal primaries so there is no reason to think that indeed the opposition has 6 million votes safe for October.  But even if we lower that to, say, 4,5 millions, then Chavez is in trouble: Capriles needs to get an extra 1 million to beat Chavez.  In 7 months it is possible.

There is no need to worry much about the opposition unity after last night.  The picture above is going to haunt chavismo worst nightmares for the next months.  Maria Corina will become their electoral specialist and front woman (with new hero Teresa Albanes), Leopoldo will be in charge of making sure volunteers staff all voting stations, Perez will make sure Zulia votes massively, and all the winner of the other primaries will be campaigning hard because if Capriles loses they are toast.  The 3 million of yesterday is the best possible stimulation one could have hoped for, the most committed team you can create.

Primero Justicia is top dog

The other momentous news came after midnight (that one I could watch live) when it was announced that PJ, Capriles party, had made a clean sweep of Miranda and scored a few big points around.  PJ should be careful not to brag too much because the coattails were of Capriles and not for them, seen perfectly well in Caracas-Libertador where Ismael Garcia pulled it but with quite a few points less than Capriles in a district that Ismael should have never won.  The winner last night, make no mistake, is Capriles more than PJ, though we must recognize that PJ is now the main opposition party of Venezuela.  By far....

I am glad for PJ because it has paid an unfair price for the electoral union since 2008 as many were trying to stop the natural rise of the movement.  I think people did feel that and punished the other guys, including unfairly Voluntad Popular in spite of its rallying to Capriles.  Now my concern is that PJ does not go the COPEI way and become a vindictive party as some hints could already be seen in the nasty campaigns of Baruta and Chacao.

The 1.8 million of Capriles are not PJ, because in it we have 300K of PODEMOS et al, 300K of VP, probably 50K of MCM (el voto útil, you can see it on the polls now close on the right) and 100K miscellaneous.  That Capriles had coattails is natural but they are his, I am just pointing this out in case someone at PJ reads my blog.

AD is a fiction

El Chigüire Bipolar got it right, this is the AD electoral engine

Speaking of parties that tried to sabotage the rise of PJ as much as possible, AD can only feel good about two things last night: it got the nod for Anzoategui and Apure governorship.  It still needs to win them but their primary win is a meager consolation for a party that once was a mighty fortress.  The rest was a disaster for AD (and COPEI, but who cares at this point)

Coming back to my earlier predictions in January 11, I could be told that I was wrong.  In part it is true because I made the mistake that most observers are making, considering the AD electoral machinery as some sort of "dark matter".  Except that I am delighted to say that this dark matter variety has been proven tonight not to exist.

On January 11 I wrote

Capriles 1.143.000
Perez 1.095.000
Lopez 279.000
Uncommitted 645.000

which was my 3 million participation, and of which uncommitted I gave MCM 150.000 which is a little bit better than what she got, by the way- but I digress.

Now, if you add Lopez you get for HCR 1.422.000.  Better already.

Now Capriles needs an extra 400K whereas Perez has an excess of 200K.  Where was my mistake (even if globally I was doing quite well, pat, pat)?  Part of the 400K will come from the uncommitted but the thing here is that my mistake came when I overestimated the COPEI and AD machinery.  And the weird thing is that my overestimation is to say that they existed even if weak.  Apparently they do not exist anymore and the win in Anzoategui is more of a fluke, due only to the character of the local guy rather than his actual ties to AD.  From the near 900K that Perez got 600 are his alone from Zulia and UNT.  The alliance that he worked so hard for, that made him delay so much his campaign start wounding him so fatally, did bring him at best 300K.

I should be mad at myself but I am overjoyed: AD and COPEI may finally be out of our system....

More to come but those are the quick ones easy to do without all the hard data in hand.  And you get all my self congratulating.  Unbearable, I know, but deal with it, I had a hard day yesterday.


  1. Anonymous4:09 PM


    Great job of keeping us informed leading into this monumental event. Please correct me if I am wrong but based on the percentage of the electorate....this represents one of the best (if not the best) turn out for a primary in history of elections anywhere. Congratulations to every Candidate and to all the Venezuelan people. The road ahead is still long, but the future is much brighter today than it was last week. Venezuelan opposition is united and stronger than ever. The most important thing now is to make sure that in October every vote is protected and volunteers are out at every station. Congrats again to all.

    1. I do not know about that everywhere thing. I suppose that primary elections in the US when combined with a referendum or something may have high % turnouts. But the one of yesterday is way up there, and certainly the winner if we go at national district. The French Socialist primary in France last year did not make it to the 3 million votes and it was not only an open primary (with some restrictions) but France is more than twice the size of Venezuela in population.

  2. "I take full credit for that prediction which I will call a victory for me" LOL Good call.

  3. In all fairness, it was a competition among candidates (HRC vs. PP), not political parties. PP’s performance was dissapointing and that was it. That's probably also the case for most nominations, except for those riding hard on Capriles' tailcoat.

    I’m not so sure that AD was the biggest loser. AD and COPEI after endorsing PP kept a low profile. They had some candidates running at the governor and mayor level, but I can’t tell if they expected anything better than what they got. AD got Guarico and Anzoategui; COPEI got Portuguesa, Merida, Trujillo and Delta Amacuro. Not bad for the not-dead-yet ancient parties...

    And I'm not sure we should call PJ the next big thing yet. Yes, they're very strong in Gran Caracas, and they even won Falcon, Cojedes and Aragua, but it's not a done deal for them. So far, they have just won the nomination. We’ll have to wait til 2013 to see if the parties – new or old – can make some profit out of it.

    1. Ivan Colmenares is/was MAS. And Lippa in Apure was AD. But Llanos state do not count, they all will remain in Chavez hands, at least as of today.

    2. If there's a place where Capriles and the MUD can make inroads is definitely Oriente IMHO.

    3. I did have some doubts about political affiliation (I got the info from noticias24), so I appreciate your info, Daniel. You're probably right about Los Llanos, those nominations are nothing but symbolical.

      I do hope you are right geha714. I listened today to Aveledo as he was interviewed by Cesar Miguel Rondon and he mentioned something about "areas de crecimiento potencial". He was talking about Caracas particularly, but I assume they do know in which areas they can win away some voters from chavismo on a national level too. I do hope they keep the good work :)

    4. In caracas I expect growth, specially in Libertador. Last year, Anzoategui and Sucre gave a big surprise in the assembly election. Bolivar is showing signals of change too and now Monagas, where there's infighting inside Chavismo and now with the PDVSA cluster**** they did, puts the state in play IMHO.

  4. Great news! Now they all need to unite against Chavez. Very simple. Capriles should invite everyone with open arms, they will have their chance in 4 years after he defeats Chavez, and could have high positions in the new government.

    If they all really care about Vzla, not just their personal political aspirations, they need to rally behind Capriles, as Leo did. MCM, Dieguito, all of them.

    And if I were Capriles, I would invite Chavez to a man-to-man debate on National TV, with equal talking time. And every time Thugo declines, OTHERS (MCM, for example), should say that Chavez is scared of honest debates, because... and because,, they should all attack them now on many fronts:

    With "before and after Chavez" simple numbers and colorful charts: (crime, inflation, imports/exports, GNP, etc); Attack him about the false Vivienda promises, and other gigantic Chavista lies. Not so much Capriles, who should continue with his popular approach, and mantain a clean campaign, but his allies, Pablito and all the others.

    Attack him about his international alliances, and stupid "imperialista" crap. Who wants to be as poor and f-up as the poor Cubans? Who wants communism or fake "socialism"", when everyone knows they fail every time?

    And this united, new campaign for the next 7 months should be TARGETED, specifically toward the Chavista followers. The 3 million who voted yesterday are already on board, against Chavez, obviously.

    Therefore, the strategy to dethrone Thugo must be kepts simple: Chavistas are by enlarge under-educated and poor. They don't understand fancy socio-economic concepts, or big words. So all of the reasons why Chavez must go must be presented to them in a language they can understand.

    1. When Chavez told MCM that he wouldn't debate her because she hadn't won the primary, that certainly implies that he WOULD debate the winner. At the very least, Capriles should be able to point out how Chavez keeps shifting the goalposts on debates.

    2. Anonymous10:25 PM

      Awesome insight Sledge. You took the thoughts right out of my mind. I agree with your comment 1000%. That is EXACTLY what they need to do now. Point out the lies, the screw ups, the corruption etc all pre candidates working together talking to their bases. But most important the meesage has to get into the barrios in a language where the uneducated or barely educated can UNDERSTAND is a huge key. I think Capriles can reach them. Ive heard him speak and he uses many slang terms that this pueblo can understand. He must capitalize on that and keep up the great work but the rest must also do their part UNIDAD

  5. Juan Cristóbal4:49 PM

    I don't really have an opinion on the local races, except to say that I fear that PJ might have won too big for its own good. I'm not sure they are ready to be *the* biggest party in the opposition. But perhaps they (we) are.

    1. Well, there is the Leopoldo wrench there....

  6. Island Canuck5:03 PM

    I mentioned this in Miguel's blog.
    We need to have the REP audited now.
    Capriles should make this a prime objective.
    It is mathematically impossible that 18,000,000 people are registered to vote.
    Without an audit they have at least 3,000,000 or more phantom voters that will make it almost impossible to win a general election.

    1. There a simple cure to all of this: witness at every single table and collection of all actas. thus only people that vote physically are in the totals.

    2. Island Canuck5:22 PM

      That doesn't help if 1 person has 5 or 10 cedulas & votes at different polling stations

    3. it is not as easy as it seems. buses with lots of people arriving at once is noticeable. people leaving without inking their fingers is not discrete. etc... all of these things can be reported by witnesses early enough during the voting day. they can take pictures of the voters discretely, they can tag the license plates of the buses, etc, etc....

      you could have the best REP audit in the world, in 24 hours you can print enough fake voting registers if you must. with a traditional 35% abstention, bloating electoral registers by 5% is not that easily detected on election day and enough to change a result in a close election.

    4. I've seen it. Around the building I live are (less than 2 blocks away) 4 electoral centers and I've seen the "red bus" come fully loaded, people would go out, be handed IDs, go to a voting center, come back, be given IDs again, rinse, repeat.

    5. Anonymous10:51 PM

      Agree with Daniel another option, to avoid fraud, is one fingerprint cannot repeat on any other machine. In other words one fingerprint per person per machine activated. No one can fake their fingerprints and vote twice. Unless you believe Hollywood movies. The "capta huellas" in combination with what Daniel mentioned, actas+witness every table, would give the CNE, im almost afraid to say it, some legitimacy YIKES!

  7. Daniel...

    "In fact in January 11 I was talking 3 millions but in front of negative reactions from readers and colleagues I went down to 2.5 millions"

    How many times do some of us experience this on Venezuelan forums?I would say quite a few.

    Just a few months ago I was touting Unity on another blog only to find myself the " victim" of a mass gang up of vitriolic rhetoric against me.Many use the " We" word to intimidate.

    Yet I smell a rationalization when these same people are now advocating for peace and Unity with the same passion they had against it just recently.I wonder whether people want Unity only as long as their candidate is the one that wins?

    I find it disappointing that MCM did not do better even though I knew she would get limited support, and that is okay BUT I wonder how many are just supporting a front runner against Chavez, or how many people are afraid of assertiveness.

    I myself am extremely happy about the high voter turn out, but still somewhat cautious and wary of the politics behind the drive towards conciliation or shall we even say appeasement.

    I guess time will tell...and we have to hope for the best.Congratulations in the meantime, Venezuela.Great going!

  8. I have to ask, what stops Chavez from using troops like Assad is doing to retain his power?

    If the population would stop him from doing that, why haven't they banded together to stop him now.

    1. some comparisons are better left untold. even i, an anti chavez to the chore, have not reached such denatured comparisons. that chavez could become an asad is always possible, but let's deal with the present tense, shall we?

  9. Manuel6:51 PM

    Daniel, let me just point out a key element in your analysis: "...all the winner of the other primaries will be campaigning hard because if Capriles loses they are toast." That might be the main single reason why it was important to have the primaries for governors and mayors so early!!! I point this out because, if I'm not mistaken, you have criticized the MUD's decision of having all primaries together even though elections for governors and mayors are way later than the presidential one. Maybe MUD's decision was based entirely on other reasons but I think it worked out great for exactly the reason you mentioned. As I interpret it, having the presidential election earlier provides the right incentive to regional and local government candidates to work hard for the presidential candidate campaign since their electability depends crucially on the national election outcome.

    1. My objection was with the mayor's primaries, not the governor ones. these elections are barely two months after the presidential so it certainly was OK to hold them together.

      Besides my argumentation still holds no matter when they are held since they all need to work for Capriles hard, be it today, be it in 3 months from now, be it in November.

      But I am an unreconstructed federalist and thus for me any local election should be alwasy separate from any national election, even at the primary levels. the coattails of Capriles will have local consequences, mark my words.

  10. Anonymous8:10 PM

    Felicitaciones a los ganadores de las primarias.
    En UNT estamos muy tristes por la derrota en el resto del pais, pero llenos de esperanza por la victoria abrumadora en el ZUlia.
    Es mucho lo que se habla en estos momentos en UNT, hay quienes creen que el partido debe devolverse al Zulia, otros que es necesario una renovación, otros hablan de cortar políticamente con AD y Copei.

    Una cosa que quedo claro, es que en el Zulia... UNT es el lider indiscutible, Capriles no pudo pasar del 20% de los votos, ganamos todas las primarias en el estado (con nuestros candidatos o apoyados por nosotros).
    Primero justicia debe revisar el comportamiento de sus dirigentes en el estado, fue mucho lo que dijeron y poco lo que lograron, desde asegurar que capriles ganaría en el zulia, mostrando encuestas que lo daban así, a llegar a obtener menos de 70.000 votos es suficiente para que sus dirigentes en el estado asuman su responsabilidad y cojan minimo. El tsunami capriles no toco el ZUlia y este estado es fundamental para la victoria el 7O, y eso solo lo lograra UNT,
    Es indignante que todavía hoy, sus dirigentes y militantes sigan escupiendo veneno contra Pablo perez y nuestro partido.

    En el Zulia demostramos que estamos resteados con UNT y pablo perez, Y capriles debería aceptar eso y no pretender dar directrices sobre las acciones que deberíamos tomar, es decisión nuestra, de los zulianos, de UNT, si Pablo decide permanecer como el líder del partido o volver a la gobernación, nuestra paciencia tiene un limite, y el trato como derrotados humillados no ayuda crear la unidad perfecta. fuimos derrotados, si... humillados JAMÁS. y aquí tienen los resultados en el Zulia. capriles es el candidato a la presidencia de venezuela, pero no el líder de UNT, un poco de humildad no caería mal.

    El colmo, es que usan la misma encuesta que le daba el 52% en el Zulia, para decir que Eveling no le gana a arias. aqui no nos chupamos el dedo... si ellos son incapaces de leer al zulia, si nunca han entendido este estado, deberían por lo menos limitar su intromisión en asuntos, que, demostrado por los votos, a ellos no les pertenecen.

    1. Anónimo

      Primero te me serenas y coges minimo.

      Segundo te aprendes a ineventarte un nombre para simplifcar las discusiones.

      Tercero este blog no es ni de PJ, ni de UNT ni de nadie. Asi que si quieres caerte a coñazos con gente de Primero Justicia, lo puedes hacer donde quieras pero aquí no.

      Cuarto, yo he criticado a Perez pero NUNCA he hablado mal de el. Y también he criticado a Capriles, y Lopez, y Machado y para de contar pero tampoco nunca hable mal de ellos.

      Te sugiero que aprendas por ejemplo porque textos como el que pusiste lo que hacen es quedar al gentilicio del Zulia. Aquí no es ni Noticiero Digital ni Noticias 24 ni Aporrea.

      Te lo perdono por esta vez y lo dejo pero a futuro no te garantizo que lo deje colgado. Espero tu comprehensión.

  11. Anonymous8:42 PM

    Pffff. yo simplemente estaba dando una opinión si todo te lo tomas personal, eso habla mas de tu ego que de cualqueir otra cosa.
    no me refería a este blog, hablaba del otro blog caraqueño, pero si te da la gana, puedes borrar el comentario muy tranquilamente. y por lo visto ustedes lo que quieren es seguir metiendo el dedo en la herida, buena estrategia esa... vamos a ver si les da resultados el 7O.

    Y no no me da la gana de inventarme un nombre... y sobre lo del desprestigio del gentilicio en un pais con tanta xenofobia con los zulianos como este, cualquier cosa que un zuliano diga, ante los ojos de gente como tu, sonara a desprestigio, simplemente no nos entendemos.

  12. Anonymous,
    Es la Primera vez que escribo en este blog, al que sigo con mucha frecuencia y admiracion. Sin embargo, como zuliano que no voto por Capriles, y que esta gratamente sorprendido con el discurso post-eleccion de todos los miembors de la oposicion, me preocupan tanto el tono de tu comentario original como la respuesta que haz dado a Daniel.

    Nadie te esta atacando a ti, directa o personalmente. Daniel ha expresado preocupacion por el nivel (al mismo tiempo estridente y de supuesta victima) expresado en tu mensaje original, y como editor de este blog es razonable pedir un poco de sinderesis. En mi opinion, Daniel tiene toda la razon.

    Nadie cuestiona el liderazgo de Perez y de UNT en el Zulia. Los resultados estan alli. De hecho, el haber ganado con 80% de los votos es un claro indicativo del arraigo que tiene Perez como lider regional y de su obra como gobernador. Este liderazgo, sin embargo, no se extendio al resto del pais (cada quien tiene su explicacion). Los resultados son claros y la gran mayoria del electorado penso que Capriles era el mejor candidato. No hay dedo en la herida ni intencion de humillar a nadie. Tengo la plena seguridad de que una vez superado el desencanto que la contundente victoria de Capriles pudiese haber tenido en ciertas individualidades, todos los venezolanos interesados en el fin de este catastrofico gobierno uniremos esfuerzos en aras de un cambio estructural el 7 de Octubre. No hay razones reales para suponer que tu no estaras entre nosotros en esa fecha.

    Termino mi mensaje con el deseo de que puedas encontrar una nueva perspectiva de lo que representa el 12 de Febrero y que con ella puedas expandir tus horizontes mas alla de la region Zuliana.

  13. I apologize for the double posting, but I though it prudent to translate my earlier post in response to Anonymous.

    This is the first time that I comment on this blog, one that I follow with high frequency and much admiration. However, as a zulian who did not vote for Capriles and who is pleasantly surprised with the opposition’s post-election discourse, I’m quite troubled by the tone of both, your original message and your response to Daniel’s comment.

    No one is attacking you, directly or personally. Daniel has shown some concern as a result of the level of your original message (both strident and a as a victim of a supposed slight). As the editor of this blog it is only natural that he would want to ask for basic good judgment. I believe he is spot-on.

    Nobody questions Perez and UNT’s leadership in Zulia. The proof is in the pudding. In fact, having obtained close to 80% of the total vote is a clear indication of Perez regional leadership and his work as governor. That leadership, nonetheless, did not translate to the rest of the country (everyone has a different explanation). The data is very clear, however, and the great majority of voters thought Capriles was the better candidate. There is no “finger in the wound” or attempt at humiliation. I’m sure that once the disappointment elicited on some individuals by the strong mandate obtained by Capriles is over, every single Venezuelan wishing for an end to this catastrophic government will unite in a common effort to enact structural changes this coming October 7th. There is no real reason to believe you won’t join us then.

    I end my comment hoping that you might find certain perspective on the meaning of this February 12th and with it, that you may expand your horizons beyond Zulia.

  14. Daniel, I have a special request for you.

    I know that everybody considered that more than 10% participation was a HUGE success. however, I read today a comment by Eugenio Martinez, from El Universal, indicating that the participation was roughly equal to the number of signatures of the recall referendum. The comment worried me. I know that the conditions are not the same now that there were in 2003, because of the Tascón list, nonetheless, the numbers are what they are.

    My worry is that if get the same numbers, we may end up with the same outcomes of 2004-2005. So I was wondering what is different and since your specialty is debugging the numbers, maybe you can make a comparison post once we know more detailed regional results.

    This is a special request post that IMHO is badly needed to understand the situation we are in and how we can head to a victory in October.


    1. Huuuh!?!?! giving me more work???

      Well, first I need to have the complete results of Sunday before I can even think about that. Second I would need to have the "firmazo" numbers by region which I do not have.

      This being said I think the situation is different this time around and no neat correlation can be made. So it is a little bit risque for Martinez to make such an analogy.


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