Archive for July 17th, 2004

The puzzling case of the two and a half million new registered workers

July 17, 2004

Yesterday the Electoral Board announced the final tally of new registered voters and the numbered seems to have been a surprise to both pro-Chavez forces and the opposition. Last year, the electoral registry was open and 450,000 new voters registered. This year over two half a million registered in the same period, but somehow nobody seems to know why it happened or even understand why so many registered. In fact, the tsunami of new voters was apparently under the radar during the registration process.


Chavez and his supporters had been claiming all along that they would give new national ID cards to one million people, some of the new immigrants nationalized in a rush in the last few months, which would turn around and register to vote for Chavez. The opposition criticized the rush, but said that it did not matter, given the secrecy of the process; voters would vote however they wanted.


 


Last week, the Electoral Board, which is clearly pro-Chavez, decided that it was unnecessary to increase the number of voting centers. Then the tally for new registered voters comes out and it is the Chavisats that appear to be nervous. They call for the CNE to clean the Electoral Register of dead people or people who should not be in it. They ask that more polling stations be opened and the President of the CNE calls for it, despite the fact that last week he voted not to do it. So, what is going on?


 


The truth is I don’t know and I have yet to hear a coherent explanation. In fact, the opposition has said nothing on the issue, which suggests either that they are not worried; that they have no clue or that they are incompetent. But let’s look at some possibilities and the numbers:


 


1)      Conspiracy Theory #1: The Chavistas organized themselves and between handing out national ID cards and nationalizing foreigners they managed to get two million people registered.


 


It could be true, but they always talked about one million and seem very concerned by the new number. Both publicly and privately pro-Chavez leaders have been confidently using the one million new voter number as their trump card up to very recently.


 


2)      Conspiracy Theory #2: The opposition quietly worked on people registering, getting the message out.


 


Also hard to believe. The opposition does not have the resources to carry out such a campaign and there were no signs of it either.


 


3)      Spontaneous pro-Chavez theory #1: Millions of Chavistas went to register to defend the revolution.


 


Possible, but why is Chavez command campaign, named ”Comando Maisanta” so concerned about the “purity” of the registry? Why did Carrasquero and his mates at the CNE vote against new polling stations last week? Even Chavez has been making statements on the subject, suggesting they are surprised and concerned about the final number.


 


4)      Spontaneous anti-Chavez theory #1: Millions of opposition members registered to vote against Chavez.


 


Possible, but why didn’t they register last year in order to sign the petition for the recall if they were so strongly against Chavez? Could people have been sufficiently outraged by the maneuvers to stop the opposition to gather the signatures, to decide to register? I certainly find it hard to believe.


 


I have tried to examine the numbers and see if they reveal anything. The Table shows the number of new registered voters for each state, sorted in descending from the state having the highest percentage number of new registered voters to the lowest. The column on the extreme right shows the percentage of voters that cast their vote for Chavez in the 2000 election. To see if there is any pattern, I divided states in two groups: those in red were the top twelve states percentage wise in giving their vote to Chavez, the other twelve in blue were the bottom twelve.


 



 


Nothing too clear comes out of this. Of the top twelve states in increased percentage of new voters, half were in the top twelve percentage wise in the 2000 Presidential election.


 


The most anti-Chavez state, Zulia, did have the second largest percentage increase in new voters with 35.38% , which could point to 4) or 2). However, one could also say that being a border state it also has a large population of Colombian immigrants that were nationalized and registered to vote. However, other border states should have shown a similar pattern. 


 


The most pro-Chavez state, Aragua, ranked quite low in increasing the number of new voters with only 15.8%, which would go against 1). The same happened in Vargas state, the second state in Chavez support.


 


Miranda state, where the opposition has good party machinery, via Enrique Mendoza, increased its number of registered voters quite close to the average which would go against 2). Bolivar which was pro-Chavez in 2000 was also average.


 


Thus, no clear cut pattern arises from this numbers. About the only quantitative conclusion I found which could have some statistical significance is that, given the increased number of voters, if one assumed that each state split the vote exactly like in 2000, Chavez would obtain 1.5% points less than in 2000, because, the weight in the less pro-Chavez states would have increased, giving him a smaller margin. This suggests the new voters favor the opposition slightly, but still gives no explanation for the dramatic increase in new registered voters.


 


The only important conclusion one can derive from the new registered voters is that it should not be difficult for the opposition now to reach the magic 3.7 million votes in the recall. Before, scenarios with high abstention could lead to a victory by the opposition that would not recall Chavez, reaching this number should no longer be an important issue. In fact, both sides could top it no matter which side wins.


 


Any ideas from the readers in the comment sections would be very welcome.

The puzzling case of the two and a half million new registered workers

July 17, 2004

Yesterday the Electoral Board announced the final tally of new registered voters and the numbered seems to have been a surprise to both pro-Chavez forces and the opposition. Last year, the electoral registry was open and 450,000 new voters registered. This year over two half a million registered in the same period, but somehow nobody seems to know why it happened or even understand why so many registered. In fact, the tsunami of new voters was apparently under the radar during the registration process.


Chavez and his supporters had been claiming all along that they would give new national ID cards to one million people, some of the new immigrants nationalized in a rush in the last few months, which would turn around and register to vote for Chavez. The opposition criticized the rush, but said that it did not matter, given the secrecy of the process; voters would vote however they wanted.


 


Last week, the Electoral Board, which is clearly pro-Chavez, decided that it was unnecessary to increase the number of voting centers. Then the tally for new registered voters comes out and it is the Chavisats that appear to be nervous. They call for the CNE to clean the Electoral Register of dead people or people who should not be in it. They ask that more polling stations be opened and the President of the CNE calls for it, despite the fact that last week he voted not to do it. So, what is going on?


 


The truth is I don’t know and I have yet to hear a coherent explanation. In fact, the opposition has said nothing on the issue, which suggests either that they are not worried; that they have no clue or that they are incompetent. But let’s look at some possibilities and the numbers:


 


1)      Conspiracy Theory #1: The Chavistas organized themselves and between handing out national ID cards and nationalizing foreigners they managed to get two million people registered.


 


It could be true, but they always talked about one million and seem very concerned by the new number. Both publicly and privately pro-Chavez leaders have been confidently using the one million new voter number as their trump card up to very recently.


 


2)      Conspiracy Theory #2: The opposition quietly worked on people registering, getting the message out.


 


Also hard to believe. The opposition does not have the resources to carry out such a campaign and there were no signs of it either.


 


3)      Spontaneous pro-Chavez theory #1: Millions of Chavistas went to register to defend the revolution.


 


Possible, but why is Chavez command campaign, named ”Comando Maisanta” so concerned about the “purity” of the registry? Why did Carrasquero and his mates at the CNE vote against new polling stations last week? Even Chavez has been making statements on the subject, suggesting they are surprised and concerned about the final number.


 


4)      Spontaneous anti-Chavez theory #1: Millions of opposition members registered to vote against Chavez.


 


Possible, but why didn’t they register last year in order to sign the petition for the recall if they were so strongly against Chavez? Could people have been sufficiently outraged by the maneuvers to stop the opposition to gather the signatures, to decide to register? I certainly find it hard to believe.


 


I have tried to examine the numbers and see if they reveal anything. The Table shows the number of new registered voters for each state, sorted in descending from the state having the highest percentage number of new registered voters to the lowest. The column on the extreme right shows the percentage of voters that cast their vote for Chavez in the 2000 election. To see if there is any pattern, I divided states in two groups: those in red were the top twelve states percentage wise in giving their vote to Chavez, the other twelve in blue were the bottom twelve.


 



 


Nothing too clear comes out of this. Of the top twelve states in increased percentage of new voters, half were in the top twelve percentage wise in the 2000 Presidential election.


 


The most anti-Chavez state, Zulia, did have the second largest percentage increase in new voters with 35.38% , which could point to 4) or 2). However, one could also say that being a border state it also has a large population of Colombian immigrants that were nationalized and registered to vote. However, other border states should have shown a similar pattern. 


 


The most pro-Chavez state, Aragua, ranked quite low in increasing the number of new voters with only 15.8%, which would go against 1). The same happened in Vargas state, the second state in Chavez support.


 


Miranda state, where the opposition has good party machinery, via Enrique Mendoza, increased its number of registered voters quite close to the average which would go against 2). Bolivar which was pro-Chavez in 2000 was also average.


 


Thus, no clear cut pattern arises from this numbers. About the only quantitative conclusion I found which could have some statistical significance is that, given the increased number of voters, if one assumed that each state split the vote exactly like in 2000, Chavez would obtain 1.5% points less than in 2000, because, the weight in the less pro-Chavez states would have increased, giving him a smaller margin. This suggests the new voters favor the opposition slightly, but still gives no explanation for the dramatic increase in new registered voters.


 


The only important conclusion one can derive from the new registered voters is that it should not be difficult for the opposition now to reach the magic 3.7 million votes in the recall. Before, scenarios with high abstention could lead to a victory by the opposition that would not recall Chavez, reaching this number should no longer be an important issue. In fact, both sides could top it no matter which side wins.


 


Any ideas from the readers in the comment sections would be very welcome.

The puzzling case of the two and a half million new registered workers

July 17, 2004

Yesterday the Electoral Board announced the final tally of new registered voters and the numbered seems to have been a surprise to both pro-Chavez forces and the opposition. Last year, the electoral registry was open and 450,000 new voters registered. This year over two half a million registered in the same period, but somehow nobody seems to know why it happened or even understand why so many registered. In fact, the tsunami of new voters was apparently under the radar during the registration process.


Chavez and his supporters had been claiming all along that they would give new national ID cards to one million people, some of the new immigrants nationalized in a rush in the last few months, which would turn around and register to vote for Chavez. The opposition criticized the rush, but said that it did not matter, given the secrecy of the process; voters would vote however they wanted.


 


Last week, the Electoral Board, which is clearly pro-Chavez, decided that it was unnecessary to increase the number of voting centers. Then the tally for new registered voters comes out and it is the Chavisats that appear to be nervous. They call for the CNE to clean the Electoral Register of dead people or people who should not be in it. They ask that more polling stations be opened and the President of the CNE calls for it, despite the fact that last week he voted not to do it. So, what is going on?


 


The truth is I don’t know and I have yet to hear a coherent explanation. In fact, the opposition has said nothing on the issue, which suggests either that they are not worried; that they have no clue or that they are incompetent. But let’s look at some possibilities and the numbers:


 


1)      Conspiracy Theory #1: The Chavistas organized themselves and between handing out national ID cards and nationalizing foreigners they managed to get two million people registered.


 


It could be true, but they always talked about one million and seem very concerned by the new number. Both publicly and privately pro-Chavez leaders have been confidently using the one million new voter number as their trump card up to very recently.


 


2)      Conspiracy Theory #2: The opposition quietly worked on people registering, getting the message out.


 


Also hard to believe. The opposition does not have the resources to carry out such a campaign and there were no signs of it either.


 


3)      Spontaneous pro-Chavez theory #1: Millions of Chavistas went to register to defend the revolution.


 


Possible, but why is Chavez command campaign, named ”Comando Maisanta” so concerned about the “purity” of the registry? Why did Carrasquero and his mates at the CNE vote against new polling stations last week? Even Chavez has been making statements on the subject, suggesting they are surprised and concerned about the final number.


 


4)      Spontaneous anti-Chavez theory #1: Millions of opposition members registered to vote against Chavez.


 


Possible, but why didn’t they register last year in order to sign the petition for the recall if they were so strongly against Chavez? Could people have been sufficiently outraged by the maneuvers to stop the opposition to gather the signatures, to decide to register? I certainly find it hard to believe.


 


I have tried to examine the numbers and see if they reveal anything. The Table shows the number of new registered voters for each state, sorted in descending from the state having the highest percentage number of new registered voters to the lowest. The column on the extreme right shows the percentage of voters that cast their vote for Chavez in the 2000 election. To see if there is any pattern, I divided states in two groups: those in red were the top twelve states percentage wise in giving their vote to Chavez, the other twelve in blue were the bottom twelve.


 



 


Nothing too clear comes out of this. Of the top twelve states in increased percentage of new voters, half were in the top twelve percentage wise in the 2000 Presidential election.


 


The most anti-Chavez state, Zulia, did have the second largest percentage increase in new voters with 35.38% , which could point to 4) or 2). However, one could also say that being a border state it also has a large population of Colombian immigrants that were nationalized and registered to vote. However, other border states should have shown a similar pattern. 


 


The most pro-Chavez state, Aragua, ranked quite low in increasing the number of new voters with only 15.8%, which would go against 1). The same happened in Vargas state, the second state in Chavez support.


 


Miranda state, where the opposition has good party machinery, via Enrique Mendoza, increased its number of registered voters quite close to the average which would go against 2). Bolivar which was pro-Chavez in 2000 was also average.


 


Thus, no clear cut pattern arises from this numbers. About the only quantitative conclusion I found which could have some statistical significance is that, given the increased number of voters, if one assumed that each state split the vote exactly like in 2000, Chavez would obtain 1.5% points less than in 2000, because, the weight in the less pro-Chavez states would have increased, giving him a smaller margin. This suggests the new voters favor the opposition slightly, but still gives no explanation for the dramatic increase in new registered voters.


 


The only important conclusion one can derive from the new registered voters is that it should not be difficult for the opposition now to reach the magic 3.7 million votes in the recall. Before, scenarios with high abstention could lead to a victory by the opposition that would not recall Chavez, reaching this number should no longer be an important issue. In fact, both sides could top it no matter which side wins.


 


Any ideas from the readers in the comment sections would be very welcome.

Fuzzy Vision

July 17, 2004

Haven’t written very much in the last few days. The main reason was that there was really nothing I felt very inspired to write about or did not have enough information to write something coherent or significant about without boring you. You could say I had fuzzy vision all week. But here is a wrapup of what I thought writing about this week:


The CNE keeps sending very confusing signals. It sounds very disorganized over there, which is discouraging. People are getting fired, fingerprint machines may not be here on time, Battaglini gives militant statements to the press, more and more international observers are invited daily (good!) and the Board of the CNE missed two meetings. It seems as if there are many decisions to be made, but either they are being postponed or they are being made by only the pro-Chavez Directors in private.


 


I was a little surprised and puzzled by the large number of people that registered to vote in the last six weeks. Last year the Electoral registry was opened for two months and 450,000 new voters registered. This year, it was opened for six weeks and two and a half million new voters registered. Can anyone explain this to me? It certainly bothers me that there can be such a huge difference despite the fact that the places to register were the same, the lines seemed similar and the campaign to have new voters register was also quite the same. What gives?


 


I have also been doing a study on pollsters, looking for as much information as possible about what each pollster was saying in 1998 and 2000 about who was going to win. I am still working on this, but I can say the following: All of the major pollsters said in 1998 and 2000 that Chavez was going to win. One was right on the money both times: Consultores 21 who had the final percentages in both elections right within a couple of per cent. Mercanalisis was almost as good. Datos and Datanalisis were not. Datanalisis was right on the money in 2000 but way off in 1998. Datos was really off in 1998 and not too precise in 2000. I don’t have complete data on Keller and I am still looking for the data right before each election, as close as possible to the election day. For now, if Consultires 21 or Mercanalisis speak, you should listen.


 


A second important conclusion to what I have been doing is that ALL of them were way off in what abstention was going to be. In fact, all that mentioned it said that they were expecting lower abstention in 2000 than in 1998 by a lot. Abstention was higher in 2000 when compared to 1998.


 


Oil has also been on the news. It is still unclear how much oil Venezuela is producing. In separate news OPIC, a US government Agency that sells risk insurance to private companies ruled that PDVSA had confiscated the property of SAIC in the joint venture between PDVSA and SAIC to outsource PDVSA’s IT needs. The ruling means that OPIC will pay SAIC six million dollars and will go to arbitration to have PDVSA reimburse the six million dollars to OPIC.


 


Finally, I was going to write about the simple corruption case with the sale of the Citibank building to the Government but it has already been covered in detail in Caracas Chronicles.


 


I was also busy with training to participate in election day and with the Zonageek Meetup Caracas in which a bunch of bloggers got together this week to have a good time. You can read about it there or in Hugo’s blog.

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