Sunday, October 16, 2005

Nothing left but to grasp at straws 

Today there was an interview by ROBERTO GIUSTI, one of the main anti-Chavez journalists in Venezuela, with Luis Vicente León, the president of one of Venezuela’s principal anti-Chavez polling firms, Datanalisis, and also stridently anti-Chavez. In this article they were salivating over the idea of Chavez supposedly losing support and being vulnerable electoraly. And they were basing their giddiness on...what? Lets see.

The first real bit of information certainly can’t be making them very happy. And that is the response of Venezuelans to the question “How do evaluate the President’s tenure for the welfare of the country?” This has elicited a positive response for Chavez of 70% all year but now it has fallen to... 69.8%. I’m not kidding it fell all of .2%! Certainly they can’t take much comfort in Chavez’s approval rating having essentially held steady at 70% for all of the past year.

So what is their cause for hope? The response to the following two questions. The first one is “How much confidence do you place in President Chavez?” The response to this has fallen from 58.7% in July to 51.7% in September. But I certainly wouldn’t put much stock in this. After all exactly what having “confidence” in Chavez is going to mean is different for different people. And in any event it’s still over 50%.

The second question is “Who would you vote for if the elections were this Sunday”. In response to this 48.5% said they would vote for Chavez. Giusti and Leon are salivating that this number is less than 50%. To which I have to say they are just grasping at straws. For example, isn’t it interesting that they didn’t give the percentages for any other potential candidates get, such as Julio Borges of Primero Justicia? Could it be that they are all polling single digits so to save them the embarrassment Datanalisis just doesn’t publish their numbers? And could it be that in a country with high levels of abstention lots of people just said they didn’t plan on voting? The answer to those questions is very likely yes.

The bottom line, no matter what the spin, is that Chavez has an approval rating of 70% and none of his potential opponents are even remotely close to him in the polls. So Leon better get used to asking people what they think of President Chavez’s performance in office. He’s likely to be asking that question for a long time to come.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?