Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Varianzas poll is out: too close to call

Yes, I know, I do not believe in pollsters in Venezuela but those are becoming the news themselves so I need to cover what is going on.

Yesterday Datanalisis got out its last poll before election with the contradictions already detailed here and here. And so it is Varianzas turn today, which strangely chose Noticas 24 to come out with its poll, a web site compromised with the regime now. This detail set aside it is still an interesting poll to look at because it really shows that Venezuela has become such a polarized society that we are left with the expectation of a major event of any type to start see it moving one way or the other. Let's note alos that Varianzas has had a good track record recently and that YVpolis considers it the least biased of all pollsters in Venezuela. By the way, YVpolis bases its current prediction only on pollsters overall study and gives a narrowing margin of 4% still in Chavez favor.

Varianzas says that it is 49,7% for Chavez and 47,7% for Capriles, but the spread falls in the margin of error and thus the election is in fact too close to call. Like Consultores 21 but in reverse though Consultores is a little bit more optimistic in favor of Capriles. However if you go into the details there are a few points of Varianzas that are worse considering and that in my opinion have not worked their way fully through the voter conscience.

For example 50% relate the Amuay disaster with the regime handling of the country, whereas 8% only link this to the opposition.  Of course, that 8% is the chavista moral lumpen that is ready to believe anything that pops up in VTV garbage shows. And thus we have a number for the fraction of the electorate which is truly receptive to chavismo hyper negative campaigning, rather reassuring if you ask me.

It is also to be noted that 10% more think the economic situation of the country is bad than those who think otherwise. Where is the alleged positive effect of the recent misiones? More people think that Chavez will not deliver on mision vivienda than those who think he will, by 11%!

All in all, it looks like the country is aware in its majority that things are not going well, that Chavez is not the future and yet they are unwilling to change their voting pattern, resulting in this dead heat.  I hate to quote myself but I wrote on September 4  what I paste below

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.

I am a little Varianzas all by myself  :-)

PS: I should add here that one of my neighbors told me that he would not vote for a jew.  Maybe I have underestimated the reach of chavismo antisemitic display?


  1. Capriles is very Christian for being a jew, don't you think?

    1. Capriles can't be a Christian. Look, Mario Silva said he was a jew. Pérez Pirela pointed to a crossword puzzle clue that tied Capriles to a dreidel he received from his grandmother when he was a little boy. And Chávez himself said Capriles was a majunche, which is no different than being a jew. There's just no way I'm going to follow a second jew. Christ is one thing. But Capriles? No way.

    2. Island Canuck11:25 PM

      Not really important if VTV tells you otherwise.

  2. Daniel, it would be interesting to know a bit more about the socio-cultural background of your neighbour. Johny Rodríguez and María González hardly knew what a Jew was.

    The worst you would get is: "es judío? jejeje, jodío, jodío", but that kind of silly jokes you would get with anything that resembled anything (belga? beeelga, verga, belga, veerga). There were more chances people would tell you "Heil Hitler" if they heard you had anything to do with Germany (as I posted once, we have a couple of hundred men in Venezuela whose name is Hitler, even one who is called Hitler Maolenin Leañez Aponte, from - surprise, surprise, Barinas).
    The anti-Semitism in Venezuela, as far as I know, was mostly related to the far left who had contact with European left extremists, people like Mario Silva, not the masses.

    You know, it's going to get jolly interesting in the coming days when Hugo is forced to speed up his campaigning across Venezuela. Will he show more of his sickness? (if he is not faking it)

    In any case, to quote Cortázar:
    No se baja vivo de una cruz.

    1. OT on Godwin's Law.
      Periodically, I've had to mentally roll my eyes, when Jews and non-Jewish Americans, in particular, have tried to pin my (German, non-Jewish) surname. What bubbles up, through questioning, is the possibility of Nazis in my family who fled to Venezuela. It's rather comical to experience the mental wheels in motion among the 'acomplejados' in the American mainstream.

      But my favourite indirecta had to be from a Canadian of Hungarian background, who informed me, after I answered his pertinent questions: "Suuuure, they were all Swiss after the War."

      Es que la ignorancia no tiene límites geográficos.

    2. Anonymous7:39 PM

      syd, I think it's true that most of us gringos (here en los Estados Juntos) could not tell you whether someone's "German" name was actually a "Jewish" name.

      I used to work with a woman who had a German sounding last name, ending in "-man". One time I wrote it in an email with an extra "n". She commented if you spell it that way, it's a Jewish name. She is not Jewish, had grown up with the name, and didn't know this until she was an adult.

    3. Anon@1:09P, My German surname has 2 'd's in it. It seems to have originated somewhere near Frankfurt. Don't know anything else, since most of the male members of that early family in Vzla died in the Cúa earthquake of 1878. And my grandfather, who survived and then married a venezolana, died at an early age. There was another branch of the same family that arrived in Vzla in the late 1800s. They were either Catholics to begin with, or converted to catholicism.

      During my college years in the US of the 1970s, my favourite prof (of History of Western Civ.), who was also a rabbi in a nearby small city, asked me after class, one day, if I was Jewish. "Not that I know of," I said.

      My Dad explained it thus: that surnames with a double consonant are not Jewish, while the ones with one consonant, are. However, I have found that not to be a hard and fast rule. In the 80s, I remember looking up my surname in the Montreal white pages. There, I found listings, both with one 'd' and two 'd's. The associated addresses were in an area known to be Hassidic.

      Decades later, my family phyx, who's Jewish, asked me: "Are you one of us?" I laughed. (I never revealed that I had married a member of his 'tribe' and not converted.) Seems like the only folks who ask me about religious affiliation are either Catholics or Jews. No one else cares!

      From my limited understanding and readings, Jews arrived in Europe in the early Middle Ages. I thought I read where each family of newly-arrived (Ashkenaz) Jews had to be 'adopted' by a local head of household (a guarantor, perhaps?). Is that where the adoption or slight alteration of names came into play, not only with German last names, but also with Polish ones? In the latter case, Swirsky is Jewish, Swirski is not.

      And that is pretty much all I know.

  3. "8% is the chavista moral lumpen that is ready to believe anything that pops up in VTV garbage shows"

    Only 8%? I could easily believe that number was quite a bit higher - so 8% in itself is a piece of good news.

    1. agree. I don't have figures, but strongly suspect that the segment of poorly educated Venezuelans is significant. 8% is not significant.

  4. Actually in the 1980s, the US Supreme Court ruled that Jews are a race, at least for purposes of certain anti-discrimination laws. The reasoning: at the time these laws were passed, people routinely spoke of the "Jewish race" or the "Italian race" as well as the "Negro race," so that is what the legislators intended to protect.

    Many Jews get offended when people think of them as a race, but often act as if they are, so this just adds to the confusion.Last year I went with my husband to a synagogue in a neighboring town where nobody knew us.During the part when everyone was sharing ideas, an older man stood up and pointed to me , saying," I saw that Shiksa in a ball game last week", automatically assuming that my facial features( or race) were not of a Jew.

    However,I never saw much antisemitism in Venezuela , and I don't think Venezuelans are the type to care much about this kind of prejudice.....but if hysteria were to get bad enough at some future point, one never knows.firepigette

  5. Definition of semite: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/semite.
    As has been explained to me by Jews: Judaism is a culture, a religion and a race. (I married one, long ago.)
    Among older, poorly educated, religious and rural Venezuelans, you will come across traces of great concern over a Jew in their midst. They come by that concern honestly; it's what they were taught by the Church, many years ago. But the concern is not such a one-way street. There is great concern among certain Jews over their members intermarrying non-Jews (especially, gasp! non-Jewish women who won't convert). There is even greater concern over any Jew who becomes affiliated with "Jews for Jesus", etc.

    1. Well, it depends on the definition presented by each Jew.

      Now, Syd, did you also notice Firepigette told us that guy considered her
      a Shiksa?
      From Wikipedia:
      "Shiksa usually refers to an attractive (stereotypically blonde) gentile woman or girl who might be a temptation to Jewish men or boys, e.g., for dating, intermarriage, etc."

      It's not the first time I read from Firepigette about her beauty and blondness, but it is the first time I heard that while wearing a blue-red jumper.

    2. It also depends on the teachings Jews received from their rabbis, some being firebrands, just like you'll find in any religion, most without exception, revolving around a principal mission: increase numbers.

      And like in most religions, there are variations, except that in Judaism that variation goes way, way back in history to define two groups, largely on the basis of geography. I'm referring to the Ashkenaz and Sephardic Jews.

      As for firepigette's periodic reminder of her luminous effect on the opposite sex, this time, informing us of a widespread radius of influence, I believe her talents would be more profitable if she found a way to express herself on larger boards than these. I'm talking about billboard advertising.

  6. Kepler,

    As usual you are overly angry for things you know little about.If you knew more about American usages for words , you would know that the word Shiksa is used for almost any woman or girl who is a gentile when trying to insult.

    The more insulting terms for non-Jews are shiksa (feminine) and shkutz (masculine)

    And besides, whether or not I am blond or attractive or not is beside the point.The point made is that many Jews are quick to see when someone does not look typically Jewish.

  7. Firepigette:

    The fact that the US Supreme Court considered Jews to "be a race" for purposes of considering a lawsuit does not make them a race.

    There are Japanese Jews, Eskimo Jews, White Jews, Black Jews, Brown Jews, and someday probably Martian Jews as well.

    Even if all Jew believed that Judaism is a race, it doesn't mean it is so.

    Judaism is a religion first, and a culture second and that's it.

    Or shall we say that Catholics are a race too?

  8. Now back to the post:

    Daniel, I still believe your prediction holds more water than anyone elses.

    A Capriles victory by about 400k votes is the right call.

  9. Roberto N,

    Where did I say they were a race? I said that many people see them way including many of the Jews themselves.

    I don't see them that way.

    This is a discussion that is too complicated to have in depth on this blog.My husband is Jewish, form an old Jewish family of Curacao.Parts of his family immigrated to Venezuela, and some converted to Catholicism.The families of Capriles, Maduro, Curiel , and others are all distantly related and have had quite a few experiences with being Jews in a Catholic country.Most experiences were not too bad either.

    All over the world people confuse the issue of Jews being a race, or a religious preference.

  10. Ronaldo5:51 PM

    Chavez imported antisemitism from his friends in the middle east and North Africa. Amendinajad and Hezbollah spew hatred around the world and Chavez wants to kiss their ass by adopting their beliefs. In the 30 years I have been traveling to Venezuela, antisemitism was not a concern until Chavez came along. Unfortunately, Chavez has brain-dead morally-bankrupt followers who believe every word he says without question. Hey, some day I wonder if Chavez himself believes what he says.

    Government sanctioned Antisemitism will stop completely if Capriles wins. Another one of the thousand good reasons to vote for Capriles.


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