Before I move on to fraud claim and analysis of results, I need to evaluate what I "predicted" would happen.
First, I refused to predict anything because I had been saying all along that the election would be close and that too much fraud was taking place to evaluate possible predictions in a serious way. This being said, my last evaluation gave "too close to call, slight Capriles lead, 34% abstention", with a higher participation favoring Maduro. The participation was much higher, which allowed Maduro to come only even BECAUSE the surprise was that almost 700.000 Chavez voter did the switch to Capriles, the truly unexpected result of yesterday. That 700.000 would have been halved and Capriles last night would have recognize the results.
In other words that 700.000 chavista abandoned so suddenly chavismo is the political news of yesterday and it is what creates all the trouble and the mess we are in because IT IS CLEAR that without all the unfair pressure for the regime those 700.000 would have been much higher. Hence the hurried attempts today by chavismo to swear in Maduro even as the international observers are requesting a few more days to settle accounts properly.
But if this time around I eschewed predictions that did not stop me from writing scenarios and lo'and behold, I almost got it! On March 25 I posted a "scenario 3" where Maduro was getting 50.9% with 6.8 millions while Capriles was getting 49.1% with 6.6 millions. I got the percentage (Maduro got 50,6 because there were "other" candidates) and add 0,6 k votes to each and I am there :-)
Of course, this is all immaterial: I always got Maduro ahead, not by much, on those and more entries (look label 2013 election), but I got him ahead because abstention would be higher than in October. Nobody really, that I know of, predicted that 700.000 chavista would blithely switch sides. 2, 3, even 4 hundred K maybe but 7?
The funny paradox here is that normally I should not be claiming fraud because, well, I was putting Maduro ahead by a lead of no more than 2-3 points. But that tectonic shift (and trust me, in Venezuelan political language this is a cliché worth using today) changes it all and supports fraud charges because we can be sure that chavismo was informed of that "tectonic shift" and was hurried in putting the election behind A.S.A.P. with as much fraud as necessary.
So, how do I rate myself this time around? I will give me a solid B. I did sense that Capriles was drawing in a few chavistas, that he had mobilized all the opposition electorate and that Maduro would lose may votes and end up winning by a narrow margin. But I failed to see that more than abstention it was going to be a direct transfer of votes that would change the political landscape. Thus I missed the key factor of abstention which drove my diverse scenarios and thus no A for this blogger. yet, in such a complicated situation I take the B happily :)
Funny foot note: the NYT starts its entry with an "In an unexpectedly close race".... they should pay more attention to blogs that ALWAYS saw it close.....