Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights

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Posts tagged polling

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Venezuelan Pollsters, Their Records and the 2012 Race—Post-election Update

Iñaki Sagarzazu

(Léelo en español en YV Polis)

Finally, on October 7, after a very long electoral season, Venezuelans went to the polls to answer the question we’ve all been waiting for: which pollster was right? The answer is not as simple as it might seem and in this space I will try to discuss why. 

I would like to start by highlighting something that was extremely interesting in the first days after the election. After an election I am used to hearing politicians—winners and losers—claim victory. It has always been an interesting feature of elections. No matter how badly a party loses, its members always find a way to say they won with phrases such as “we got more votes than before” or “we conquered this or that region.” What I have never seen before this election is pollsters engaging in post-electoral spin. Hours after the results of the presidential election were unveiled, several polling houses started public relations campaigns spinning the success of their results. This is completely absurd. When polling houses feel like they have to do much more than just report their findings, then we have a serious problem. This goes back to the point that I have been trying to make since I started my blog: when polls done on similar dates show differences that range from a 20-point lead for the incumbent to a 2-point lead for the challenger, someone is not doing their job.

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Filed under Venezuelan elections polling

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Breaking Through the Echo Chamber

David Smilde

Last week on the Caracas Chronicles blog, Juan Cristobal Nagel wrote a remarkable post. He lamented that he had become a cheerleader for the Capriles campaign, drawn into the opposition bubble that was convinced Capriles was going to win. The post is worth reading not only for its admirable candor and reflection, but also for Nagel’s description of the value-added process by which he was led into the bubble. He tells how, after he posted a piece critical of Capriles, he was taken aback when a member of the Capriles campaign said he needed to decide if he was a “friend or enemy.” Overtime he realized that he did indeed feel a strong affinity for the campaign’s basic themes and communicated frequently with friends he had on the campaign staff. This led him to lose his critical edge, ignore the polls that showed Capriles way behind and focus on the one that showed him ahead. The post gets at two of the core elements of political polarization in Venezuela during the Chávez period.

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Venezuelan Pollsters, their Records and the 2012 Race—September Update

Iñaki Sagarzazu

(Léelo en español en YV Polis)

With days to go before the next presidential election in Venezuela it is time for a final look at the polls. The new polls are just as murky as they have been all along. Most polling firms have released -this past week- their latest studies as, per Venezuelan electoral law, it is illegal to publish polls after this past Sunday 30th of September. These last polls maintain the wide ranges that go from a 20-point lead for President Hugo Chávez to a 2-point lead for the challenger, Miranda’s Governor Henrique Capriles Radonski. As such it is still necessary to see where the race stands, when controlling for biases.

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Filed under Venezuelan elections polling polling bias

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Is a Capriles Surge Possible? Digging in to Datanalisis’ August Omnibus

David Smilde

Two weeks ago, both Bloomberg and Reuters released the results of Venezuelan polling firm Datanálisis’ August Omnibus (fieldwork July 16 to August 9). As a client of Datanálisis I cannot legally confirm or disconfirm these numbers since it was not a public poll. However, I can dig down to the next layer of the Omnibus to look at some of the trends.

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Filed under Venezuela Presidential election Chavez Capriles Polling

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Venezuelan Pollsters, their Records and the 2012 Race—August Update

By: Iñaki Sagarzazu

(Léelo en español en YV Polis)

There is a little more than a month left to go before the next presidential election in Venezuela and the polls are just as murky as they were in July. The last month has seen a new batch of polling results that range from a 20-point lead for President Hugo Chávez to a 2-point lead for the challenger, Miranda Governor Henrique Capriles Radonski. Given this variability, the exercise we did in this blog last month (see the previous post here, léelo en español aquí) continues to be of use; I will take those same measures of correction and apply them to the latest poll available for each firm.

Recapitulating

First, let’s briefly review the previous post. In it I argued that polling houses typically tend to err in one direction, which allows us to determine a measure of bias with which we can correct current predictions. Second, I highlighted two scenarios from the previous electoral contests: 1) a scenario where the polls were had the opposition ahead, but the government won (like in 2004 and 2009); and 2) a scenario where the government was thought to be ahead but where the opposition ended up winning or coming very close to doing so (like in 2007 and 2010). These two scenarios served as the basis for two measures of “correction” for current polls. A third measure of correction was based on the average of all errors for the previous elections. These correction terms can be seen in the table below.

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Filed under Venezuelan elections Polling bias Capriles Chavez