Saturday, October 13, 2012

The 2012 Prez result: your little friends at the ballot box

UPDATED In Venezuela there is that long running tradition that no matter how insignificant your political movement is you still want it to appear in the ballot box, hoping that with 0,2% of the votes cast you will be able to demonstrate that without your help the winner would not be so. 14 years of Chavez have not dented that deleterious habit, not even inside the chavista hegemony where Chavez has given up for the time being to preside over a unique party outside of any coalition. In fact Chavez has started stealing away other people's political party to refurbish a coalition of the naive. Let's look at the mosaic of political groups.

The CNE very helpfully lists the results of every party that supports Chavez and Capriles, giving their national percentage rather than their percentage inside the coalition. Just click on the name of the candidate in this CNE result page.


Chavez party PSUV is 43,09%.  That is, for all of his efforts to build a single party state Chavez was elected because smaller parties amounting to 12,16% also voted for him. This is not only more than small change but it also betrays how divided is the chavista coalition and how the only thing that unites it is Chavez.  This has not stopped Chavez from ignoring the 12% when he named the candidates for governor next December.  Apparently there is a lot of hurt feelings but that is for another post.

Now, the junior partner is the Commie Party of Venezuela with 3,3% of the vote, proving to you that anachronism is alive and well.

The party of Lina Ron, UPV, has been voted to a still surprising, for me, 0,6%, a testimony of her own charisma that bothered Chavez a lot. But he needs not to worry anymore, she is dead.

The more interesting results are those of  PPT and PODEMOS, former allies. Chavez used the courts and a small group of discontents to steal away these parties from their leadership, one of the least discussed scandals pre election.  Not that I sympathize with these parties at all, but heck, expropriation should have limits, no?  That "coup de main" of Chavez did not bring him great dividends. PODEMOS, the runner up of 2006 with 6,53% is now a paltry 1,05%, at position 7. Clearly, the bulk of the PODEMOS voters went away.

The PPT new management fared a tad better than Podemos. It retained its third position of 2006, but now it is at 1,48% to the 5,13% of 2006. I am actually surprised that it is that low, fully expecting at least a 2-3%. After all, PPT was never a party for the masses, more of an organizational movement with big presence in public administration and hard core trade unions. It seems that the high handed ways of chavismo were just too much, even for these all but unconditional supporters, the bulk also going away.

All in all, it is kind of a failure for the PSUV which being solely a Chavez vehicle fails to grow from its MVR 2006 version to 2012, unless you call 1,5% a growth  in the awesome conditions of political pressure inflicted by Chavez.


The old weaker parties tried to avoid a direct scrutiny of their forces and the UNIDAD ballot they used was the winner with 14,68%. How this compares to 2006? Then you had Copei with 2,24, and the rest lost in a dust cloud of smaller party while AD or PVzl supported Rosales through its own party. I would say that these parties should be comforted in that their overall number actually grew even though we do not know who is who.  Incidentally, readers of this blog picked up Unidad as reflected on the poll still seen in the bottom of this page.

Since Un Nuevo Tiempo was the top vote-getter in 2006, with 13,37% as a cover for other groups, let's start with its result this time around: 8,11%.  A disaster if you ask me. Not only almost half of these votes are in Zulia which Capriles failed to carry, but elsewhere they fail to become a national party, with unacceptable scores such as in Caracas with  4,73% when in 2006 they got 9,34%. The navel gazing time spent inside UNT as to whether Rosales should be the beloved leader from his exile has had a price.

But Primero Justicia should not gloat at the expenses of UNT. Last Sunday it got 12,31% of the vote whereas in 2006 its national share was 11, 17%. 1% growth with their man at the top of the ticket?  Is that right?  I had to look twice myself. This is bad news for PJ who thought that winning the primary was its stepping stone for better things. It is not and that arrogance, discretely hinted by many during the campaign,  has had its price.  It also helps explain, now that I look at these numbers,  why Capriles thought it better to regain his Miranda seat rather than pursue a "national career" as I discussed earlier today.  Clearly PJ has failed to become the leader of the opposition.

So, who grew? Only two parties that did not exist in 2006. Voluntad Popular of Leopoldo Lopez has reasons to be at the same time pleased and displeased. All the effort deployed for the primaries and scuttled at the last minute to support Capriles has had a cost.  And yet, Voluntad Popular is now officially the third party of the opposition with a modest but real 3,18%.

The fourth party has had a hard time. Avanzada Progresista may have only 1,73% of the vote but it was formed barely days before the dead line for registration. As such it has not had a chance to recover the PODEMOS vote in full.  But that is a work in progress and we certainly cannot rule out better days for them, the more so if Falcon manages to retain Lara in December.

The picture is thus more complex than what one would think from Chavez victory last Sunday.

There is one mystery that still needs to be resolved and that will have an effect down the line: what happened to the PODEMOS/PPT vote?  Together they were 11,6% of the Chavez coalition of 2006. Not an insignificant number. Today if we add the sequestered PODEMOS  +PPT with their reborn versions of AP + MPV we have the equation 1,05 + 1,48 + 1,73 + 0,34 = 4,6%, not even 40% of the 2006 number. Where did those people go? PSUV? Unidad?  The lack of good exit polls in Venezuela will require that we wait for future elections and see what happens.


Replying t a reader's comment in another post I came back to that rather elevated number of non PSUV votes.

After all it is quite clear that the PSUV is the Leninist party of Chavez and why would all of these supposed grateful recipients of Chavez largess would vote for something else than the PSUV, small parties that really offer you nothing if the PSUV does not approve of it.  I think that it may have been at least in part a protest vote of sorts. Some of these people that were dragged outside of their home at 4 PM to go and vote may have voted for Chavez in fear but had at least the small comfort of not voting PSUV. If true, then there is at last some positive sign for our side.

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