Sunday, November 12, 2006

The numbers don’t lie 

In case you haven’t noticed although all the available polls show Chavez with a commanding lead in the coming presidential election some amongst the opposition are intent on beginning a “poll war”. Of course, when I gave them there opportunity the other day they all took a pass.

So rather than debating the contradictory polls, because there are no contradictory polls we can take a look at an interesting recent poll carried out for PDVSA by Evans/McDonough

The first slide is an interesting look at the issues that Venezuelan’s consider to be the biggest problem and second biggest problem.

Two issues far and away dominate: crime and jobs. No surprise given Venezuela’s crime rate and unemployment rates.

The next slide gives peoples perception of how the country is doing

Currently 45% of the country thinks it is doing well as opposed to 35% that think it is “going down the tubes”. If anything, I would have expected more favorable numbers here, but they are what they are. Note that the favorable perceptions have increased 5% since August 2004 when the Recall Referendum was held that Chavez won.

The next slide shows a big plus for Chavez.

This slide shows that 48% of the those asked think the country is better off than two years ago whereas 29% think things have gotten worse. This is no surprise given the booming economy and it is largely this statistic that will propel Chavez to victory next month.

This next slide is a confirmation of the previous information presented in a different way

All the different shades of contentment and discontentment are given for 2006 and 2004. It would seem the overall numbers haven’t changed much. But again we see that those who see the country in a positive light outnumber those who see it in a negative light almost 2 to 1, 64% to 34%.

The next slide reveals why Chavez is virtually invincible politically

In this slide 53% say they hope that the outcome of the next election is that Chavez stays in office versus only 40% who would like to see a change in government. Even factoring out the unpopularity of the opposition by asking if people would like a “change” most people say no.

This is again confirmed when people evaluate the government

Overall we see 53% with a positive view of the government whereas only 37% have a negative view of it. One interesting part of this slide is that the second largest group of people are those who give the government the worst rating – “pessima” or terrible. Having 19% of the population in that grouping and taking into account they are the chattering classes and own most of the media it isn’t surprising there is so much vocal anti-Chavez hysteria out there.

This slide breaks down people into Chavez and anti-Chavez groupings

Chavez clearly enjoys a significant advantage. When those who are initially undecided are forced to take a side Chavez’s advantage grows further:

Now this is very interesting. 53% of people categorize themselves as Chavistas whereas only 36% categorize themselves as anti-Chavista. Now, people may recall that the Keller polling firm came out with data claiming that 52% of people were Chavistas and 48% were anti-Chavez. Of course, Keller didn’t ask people to describe themselves. Rather he asked them a number of loaded questions “do you want Venezuela to be like Cuba”, “do you think private property should be abolished”, etc. and then based on their answers categorized people. Personally I think just asking people to categorize themselves gives a much clearer picture of people’s true feelings.

Ok, now we get to the slides where the rubber meets the road:

57% say they will vote for Chavez versus 35% who will vote for Rosales giving Chavez a lead of 22%. Of course, at this point our opposition friends will really start to squirm and say this poll can’t be right. But can’t it. Is it really different from what this, this, and this poll found? Heck is it all that different from the Penn and Schoen poll which found Chavez with a 13% lead? Unfortunately for the opposition, this is reality staring them in the face.

This slide breaks the vote down by region. The good news for Rosales? At least he’ll carry his own state if nothing else.

And here is the best, saved for last

This slide breaks down the preferences by social strata (remember “A” is the rich elite, “B” the upper middle class on down to “E” who are the working poor and poor. Notice we see exactly what we would expect. The wealthy reject Chavez at a very high rate and the poor desire his continuance in power at an almost equally high rate. The rich despise Chavez and the poor see him as their savoir – it really is almost that simple.


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