Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Polling numbers 

Yesterday the polling firm Hinterlaces released some interesting but bizarre polling numbers. The first aspect to them is that supposedly the level of approval of the Missiones (social programs) has fallen from 73% to 65% in September. Nothing to unusual about this sort of variation and it shows the social programs are quite popular among almost two thirds of the population.

It then goes on to say that the popularity of Chavez himself has gone down from 53% to 45%, both of which are significantly lower than any other numbers I have seen for him. However, it then says that the so-called “Ni-Ni”, those who are against both Chavez and the opposition is now 53%. So if you add the 53% opposing both Chavez and the opposition to the 45% supporting Chavez you wind up with 98% of the population thereby implying that somehow only 2% of the population supports the opposition!!!! Rather bizarre.

Obviously that can’t be correct yet that is the way the poll numbers read. As usual they don’t give any technical data or what the questions were they posed to people. Plus they don’t indicate if they asked people if they approve of the opposition and how many said yes. Its reasonable to assume they probably did ask that question and its probably not a bad guess to say that the reason they didn’t publish it is because the numbers weren’t very good. The other bizarre, although not entirely impossible, part of the poll is the large discrepancy in the approval numbers between Chavez and the Missions especially considering how closely he is identified with them.

In any event, you can see some of the reading between the lines that gets done with what passes for polls in Venezuela. However, as the legislative elections are only two months away polls, good and bad, are going to be important to pay attention to.


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