Monday, November 09, 2015

Can the opposition win? (election YV-3)

This is a rhetorical question: even the once neutral to favorable pollsters historically putting chavismo even or ahead are now giving the opposition a two digit lead. And yet things are not that simple.

I am not talking here of the obvious: electoral cheating that has taken this time around a many splendored scope. This December election will be one for the annals of deceit, treachery and plain banditry.

Yet it is very difficult to imagine a scenario where chavismo could get back to trailing the opposition no more than 5% which is enough for them to get a one seat advantage. I have already discussed that a "victory" for the opposition is a 3/5 majority. Nothing less will be good enough to force the country into a fairly negotiated political transition. Actually I am starting to think that a 2/3 parliamentary majority is what the opposition needs to win. Equally for the regime at this point a "victory" is 45% of the vote cast. Anything less will not do as no "revolution" can retain a semblance of credibility with such poor result in vote. Never mind that the military will start having doubts about supporting a plebiscite based regime that cannot even get 40+% of the vote.

This being said, the point of this blog entry is to think about whether the opposition can indeed get a 2 digit leaded, that is 10%+ margin over chavismo. No matter what the polls say it is hard to guess. True, a larger vote count seems now assured, but the margin will be volatile for many reasons.

First, many folks who have voted for Chavez consistently for over a decade will have a hard time to admit that they were wrong even if their heads are now sun baked through food scarcity lines. I, for one, cannot imagine many chavistas hoping happily from chavismo to opposition without an "abstention" election in between. That "abstain first and then vote oppo next" has been the pattern in the slow electoral growth of the opposition. But going from a documented trend to an hypothetical landslide.....

From this first observation you can understand that the second observation will be about the emotional content of the vote. True, the natives are restless but it is my belief that the bulk of chavista "desertion" will be more through abstention than actual switching. This because many of them will decide for real what to do in the very last days of the campaign and no poll can see that. True, such last minute decisions will not affect the outcome but could at the last minute carve out 2, 3 or 4 points of the opposition advantage. For a 3/5 majority these few points are crucial.

But this could backfire badly for chavismo too, my third observation. Chavismo will try its bring in the vote machinery. But if it pushes too hard, if it forces too much of its voters it could create a resentment reaction turning a lot of folks into former voters.

A fourth observation is how many voters the opposition lost to emigration. A million? A million and a half? Another key factor to reach the fabled 3/5.


In  short as we reach the last stretch of the campaign chavismo is left to rely on Chavez love and the effectiveness of its bring in the vote now that it has very little to pay for it. As for the opposition, deprived of media and campaign money it has to rely on people being upset enough to give it the crucial 3/5.

As you can guess yourself, an election based on emotions is hardy quantifiable in advance. As of today anything is possible, from a small opposition victory to a landslide. But all decided in the very last week.


  1. IslandCanuck2:48 PM

    I'm still betting on no election.

  2. I'm still betting cheating to an oppo lost, but just barely

  3. Do you have the previous vote on a district by district basis? Say from the 2010 and 2013 elections? In that case it's possible to visualize scenarios whereby the Chavista vote is reduced by X fraction and the opposition gains Y fraction of X (1-Y being Chavista abstentions).

    I suppose they redistricted & played around to gain an advantage, but the district votes can be approximated.

    To avoid shenanigans the MUD should poll district by district staring as soon as the campaign takes off officially. This also allows focusing in close districts to campaign and make sure the tables are manned. I would expect the mud to be riddled with Chavista agents who will try to sabotage, plus there's going to be a significant effort to have people vote in front of a Chavista official. Voters need to be notified and trained to resist pressure, blackmail, threats, etc.

  4. Ronaldo7:55 PM

    The biggest elephant in the room is that Maduro does not have any need to follow elections laws. Whatever he wants done will be accomplished by Lucena, the supreme court, or if need be, the army. Maduro's right-to-govern may be tarnished but he will still be in power. Cubans are prepared for this scenario and will be directing Maduro.

    A simple rule that denies security and gasoline to trucks transporting opposition dominated ballots for central counting could do it.

    I personally believe Chavismo will be toast on Dec 7th.

    The international community, including Obama, needs to be very vocal about condemning all voter fraud committed during the election.

  5. I'm still a firm believer that like most all dictatorships hiding behind a mock democracy that he will just cheat a victory. Why not, the world and the people will do nothing. World will denounce it but can take no action and Maduro has already shown he cares less of what the world thinks, all his allies cheat in elections too. As for the people few will protest and the army will squash them putting an end to it and life goes on with a poorer and poorer people living in misery without the courage or heart to take action as they are beaten.
    My belief in the election with for Chavistas still comes from Maduro's insistence on everyone signing the document respecting the election results and the fact that the Chavista media says Chavez now leads in the polls after his actions of late. (actions being dealing with border issue, claiming new imports of foods and goods etc.) Even his multiple party names on ballots is just to help sell that although he cheated in terms of the campaign he actually won the democratic election. Allowing him to continue to say to the USA and world back of it is the peoples will whether you like it or not you need to respect it.

    1. As mentioned above Chavista media is claiming independent pollsters have Chavista leading in the polls 41% voting for Chavista and 24% for opposition. There is no doubt the Dec elections will be fixed well i the favor of Chavista's.

  6. Charly12:56 AM

    Do you think that the news that 2 nephews of Cilia Flores are in the slammer in NY accused of drug smuggling and that they themselves accused Cabello and El Assaimi of engineering the drug transport may be a game changer or are too many Venezuelans so blasés it won't make squat difference?

    Meanwhile, I am in 7th heaven, where is la etiqueta negra that I get a shot of it?


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