Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Abstention: the key in October to kick out Chavez

Yes, I know, I know, abstention is the ghost that haunts all elections and the one that gets invariably blamed by the losing side, as if ALL "abstentionist" would cast the same vote for the losing side if they were marched at gun point to the polls.  But after Amuay I really think that abstention has become the key to a handy Capriles victory, handy enough to force chavismo to accept the result.

First a brief psychological observation.

One thing we need to understand is that in ANY political culture where elections are held regularly 40% are ALWAYS on one side and the other 40% are ALWAYS on the other side. The composition of that side may vary, may include more than one political party (in France the left has always got more than 40% but on occasion they were as many as 4 significant contenders). Elections are thus decided on two factors, where the 20% lean and how many of the 40% of each side will stay home on election day.  There is in general very little transference between the 40% blocks and when that happens to a significant amount able to decide a momentous election it is in time of perceived major crisis (the apparition of gaullism in France in 1958; the Reagan democrats; Chavez in 1998).

Now, for the psychological part. The stability of those 40% blocks reside on many things but one thing is the difficulty for people to admit they were wrong for so many years. If you have voted for Chavez each and every time since 1998, voting next month for Capriles ain't gonna happen. What is going to happen is that it will be the first time you do not vote for Chavez and stay home deliberately.

If the opposition has been able to grow since 2006 it is because, among many things, a large chunk of chavismo stayed home for the 2007 referendum.  Once that first emotional break was done (PODEMOS people mostly), it was possible to conceive that yes, why not?, they could go all over to the other side.

The problem with this year election is that the opposition has gained as much as it would gain from the 2007 defection.  It is good enough to tie chavismo, and even give it a small but significant lead. But is it enough to give Capriles the strength to stare down Chavez next October and not only beat him but force him to surrender office?

Well, after Amuay I am thinking that abstention will be higher than expected inside chavismo and that many abstention leftovers of 2007 (PPT mostly) will come across once and for all.

I need to look at my numbers to integrate this new feeling but from my last post on this matter, I must say that of today I am seeing that Chavez 5.5 million is looking toward 5 while Capriles today's 5.8 is looking to 6.2. (remember, I was starting in that post with conservative estimates). In other words, it is becoming possible that Capriles may reach the million vote difference.....  due to abstention.  Furthermore the clumsiness in which chavismo handled Amuay and Monagas and Cupira may paradoxically mobilize as much of its voters as it loses them to Capriles outright.  Thus even a 5.5 to 6.5 is not out of question.

PS: I have received some interesting data of trend studies that do match mine quite well. So after I look and digest it all I will update my predictions.  Stay tuned.


  1. Anonymous1:28 PM

    Boy oh boy are you going to get a nasty shock in a month's time. Will you promise not to write such ridiculously optimistic posts in 6 years time if Chavez wins with >60% yet again?

    1. No matter who wins in Oct this is the last time Daniel will have to write about Chavez as a candidate. But be strong. The Show must go on.

    2. Anonymous

      Must be election time! Chavistas are back in the comment section!

      But you are wrong! It's 83%!!!!! So said Jorge Rodriguez today. And if there is anyone in Venezuela more credible than you and I put together it is him.

  2. Nice post, Daniel, I look forward to a detailed demonstration of your thesis.

    I was very surprised when Chavez, he of the 7 million member PSUV, was able to turn out only 5 million or so in 2010 to vote for his candidates.

    There is less to Chavez than meets the eye.

  3. Ronaldo2:52 PM

    Chavez has to be convinced to surrender and that no action of his can change a loss to a win. A million vote margin would do it. I predict that Chavez will feign sickness and move to Cuba as soon as he realizes the election is lost. A call for sympathy will be all he has left to avoid prosecution.

    It may be unlikely, but what effect would Fidel Castro's death in the next three weeks have on the election? Would Chavez get depressed or go insane? Would he postpone the election?

    1. Anonymous4:21 PM

      Fidel Castro's death in the next three weeks...
      Man, you made my day. What a wonderful thought!

  4. kernel_panic4:32 PM

    "Would he postpone the election?"

    On what grounds? I know that everything around here is done as he wishes, but at least a L-A-M-E "excuse" is given

  5. It will be a ginormous challenge for Capriles to accomplish anything in his first 100 days. Won't he have to begin by insisting on justice for those who have destroyed the country ?

    - firepigette

  6. kernel_panic7:57 PM

    Daniel, they left you out!!


    BTW, on a completely related topic... waddayathink of those numbers? :$

    1. There is a difference: they use statistics and polls, no political instincts or local factor hypothesis. And yet we reach comparable results (if not necessarily same margins in same states).

      Of course, patilla/ravell cannot be bothered with an English writing blogger who is not an ucv "ingeniero". But I am used to this. Did they have 2010 predictions?

  7. Dr. Faustus3:09 PM

    According to Hugo Chavez yesterday:

    "Chavez said one new survey showed his lead over Capriles growing from 12 to 14 percent. "That's what they call mathematically irreversible," Chavez told a local radio station. "The gap, according to this poll, whose owner is very friendly with the candidate of the right ... the gap actually widened.""

    Mathematically irreversible?

    Have the steroids finally taken hold of Hugo's mind? Does he know that he's in the fight for his political life? Or is he just reading his left-leaning polling data?

  8. Daniel, the winds of war are blowing in the middle east. http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/israel-readies-secret-weapon-for-iran-attack/?cat_orig=world
    the attack could coincide with elections in Venezuela. What effect could this event have on the electorate?

  9. Island Canuck7:32 AM

    "the attack could coincide with elections in Venezuela. What effect could this event have on the electorate?"

    In my opinion - none! Your average Venezuelan could care less what happens in the middle east.

  10. "If you have voted for Chavez each and every time since 1998, voting next month for Capriles ain't gonna happen"

    You haven't met my grandfather.


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