Venezuelan Pollsters: Mostly fail!

September 28, 2010

Venezuelan pollsters were unusually cagey in this election and they were right to be. Given the uncertainties in the undecided voters, the phantom Ni-Ni’s, as well as the hard to predict abstention and the lack of detailed polls in each district, it was somewhat daring to try to predict the outcome.

But as they were cagey in public, in private it was  a different matter spewing out theories and predictions, most of which were simply wrong. They should have kept quiet.

So, without further ado, here is why I paid attention to Daniel and Quico more closely than most pollsters. In fact, in a report I write about Venezuela I used their analysis to predict 65 Deputies for the oppo and 50% of the vote. Better than if I had used most of the “experts” below :

Constant Fail!: Seijas. Chavez’ pollster was telling us Chavismo would get 62% of the vote with a 3% error. Sorry Seijas, you are getting tiring, please try to narrow that error. For that matter, why not do a real poll, not one Chavez wants to read.You seem to be always wrong. Was it 65% or 62% in the 2007 referendum? Fail!

New and repeat Fail: GS XXI: Merentes used to run it and have 20% errors. Now it is Jesse Chacon’s time. The former Minister of Science predicted 110 Deputies and a majority for Chavez. Not bad, less than 15% error, in a military and militaristic world that must be acceptable, in the case of polling and statistics: Fail!

What’s wrong with you: Big Fail!: Datanalisis. If you know that it is hard to predict, why try? But you did. With a huge number of undecided you somehow decided love for Chavismo would prevail and turned a 28% for Chavez to 26% for the opposition poll with 40% undecided into a Chavez victory. Sorry, it just did not work, even if you tried to fix it via Twitter once you knew the oppo had won: Fail!

Not bad, given your imprecision: I always find Schemel of Hinterlaces somewhat vaporous, but he got it mostly right this time around when he predicted an opposition victory with a 34 to 32% advantage. Not bad, you have been wrong before, but you get a gold star this time.

Best in category: Consultores XXI. Time and time again, they get it right (Except the 2004 recall vote where they were calling for a small victory by Chavismo, funny no?). They said 62% for Chavismo in 1998 and 2000, but even Chavistas don’t listen to them. But they did it again, This analysis of the effect of abstention nailed it on the head and that was a key factor:

But it is clear Daniel and Quico/Juan, without the resources and just good old fashioned thinking, do a much better job.

18 Responses to “Venezuelan Pollsters: Mostly fail!”


  1. Thanks Miguel, although for the record, Quico/Juan is not a person, we are two different people!

  2. moctavio Says:

    Je, je. I just wanted to make sure you got some credit!!!


  3. By the way, you forgot to mention the so-called elections guru – Eugenio Martinez of El Universal, alias puzkas!

    For weeks he’s been harping on us, basically laughing at out methods and continuing to parrot the IVAD line – that the MUD would get about 50 seats tops. Fail!

    He even went so far as to disparage Quico’s Swing-o-meter, repeatedly stating that you couldn’t predict number of deputies from national vote totals. Fail! As Quico showed, you can, and we did.

    And don’t even get me started with Luis Vicente, who publicly (yet indirectly) called us “Pitonizas y charlatanes.” How unprofessional. Instead of opening up a dialogue and discussing methodologies, they dismissed us. Joke’s on them I guess.

    And yes – all hail Consultores 21!

  4. Alek Boyd Says:

    Juan, Miguel, I guess you’ve heard me say this before, though I’ll say it again: polls in Venezuela are pretty much useless. Still fail to understand why is it that they get so much attention, considering how inaccurate they always are.

  5. RWG Says:

    A lesson is to break the task into districts and exam the history and trends individually. Daniel and Quico/Jaun were Excellent. I hope to see their forecasts again in 2012.


  6. Alek, C21 was not inaccurate. They’re not all useless.

    Miguel, you forgot to mention Varianzas, they were in the same ballparak as C21.

  7. Alek Boyd Says:

    Juan, next time I see Caracas-centered pollsters working in San Juan de los Morros, Mucuchies, o Puerto Ayacucho, I’ll concede that they’re not all useless.

  8. moctavio Says:

    I did not mention varianzas because I have no record of them before.

  9. marc in calgary Says:

    A fair bit of the old school media / old school pollsters have become, the new, old boys club. You upstart bloggers have not earned your recognition due more to not going to the same parties than not having the accurate results.


  10. Thank you for the compliment Miguel!

    But I heard this morning in Marta Colomina Keller and apparently his prediction was good, though it was made for a private client and could not be released. If you could find that info you may want to add an update (OK, OK, Keller is my favorite but I do like Consultores too)

    I am taking the opportunity to precise the difference between Quico and my system.

    Quico established a credible system to predict ELECTED representatives once you plug in the final vote numbers, not to predict how many votes will actually MUD and PSUV get. So his system is certainly applicable to a wide range of events.

    My approach was different and consisted to directly predict the results of Sunday and THEN, as an after thought, I made my own “variometer” that could be applied ONLY for Sunday’s election, to measure and predict seats on variations from my announced results once the real results would come in. That is why I decided to make it late, and did not make freely public because it was a one time application.

    In other words our concepts were different and our objectives were different. I could say to simplify that Quico started from outside to the center whereas I started from the center to the outside. AND YET, very interestingly, we reached similar conclusions as far as the effect of the CNE manipulation in our final results for last Sunday. I suppose we met in the middle :)

  11. moctavio Says:

    Keller’s track record is not as good in my opinion, I have stopped even reading him with interest. I did not see his work this time around.

  12. island canuck Says:

    Can someone please confirm the numbers that are now in El Universal:

    PSUV – 5.399.574
    Unidad – 5.312.293
    PPT – 330.260

    Are these now accepted as correct?

  13. Ender Soton Says:

    Ok, great. It is good to boast about having majority participation in these elections. Nevertheless, what are the next steps?. Do not know about ours yet but I may anticipate a few from the Chavistas:

    3 months left for the new National Assambly to take office, thus, there´s enough time to:

    a) Eliminate the “Mayoria Calificada” for approval and amendment of certain laws.

    b) Call for a “Asamblea Constituyente” to enact a new Constitution.

    c) Call for an “Enabling Law” (Ley habilitante) …..Esteban will enjoy his piñata as always….

    d) Create a new sort of parliament ” Street Parlamentarism.”…(parlamentarismo de calle) to hinder National Assembly{s power/control…….

    What are we supposed to do?……..I wonder…..

  14. Pedro Sangronis Says:

    How about lechuga verde? http://26sep.tk/ He wasn’t completely right, but close enough.

  15. Roberto N Says:

    Ender Notos said: “What are we supposed to do?……..I wonder…..”

    The only thing you can do at this point is to take to the streets and protest against the raft of laws coming down on us. Force the clown to see that the country is dead set against these stupid laws and solutions.

    Remember the ley Sapo? Remember how everyone, chavistas included, protested against it? WEll, that’s your only weapon until 5 January 2011. Use it!

  16. bruni Says:

    The bloggers were outstanding predicting the elections.

    I think that next time, instead of hiring a pollster firm, they should hire our bloggers to get it right.

    Nevertheless there was a tradition that was not respected this time: you used to produce a prize to the reader that got closer to the election.

    I didn’t read anything about prizes this time around :-(


  17. In September 26, 2010, “Mesa de la Unidad” got 48% of the popular vote in the parliamentary elections, but just 39% of the deputies. “PSUV” with 49% of the popular vote got 59% of the deputies.
    According to the Consejo Nacional Electoral, out of 165 deputies PSUV got 98 with 5,399,574 votes, MUD got 65 with 5,312,293 votes, PPT got 2 with 330,260 votes.
    Participation was 11,042,127 votes total, 66.45% of the electoral registry.
    With these results the opposition breaks the qualified majority of the officialist party in the Asamblea Nacional.

    Article 186:
    The National Assembly will be integrated by deputies elected in each federal entity by universal voting, direct, personal and secret with proportional representation, according to a population base of one point one percent of the total population of the country.
    See Constitución de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, Diciembre 30, 1999]

    [Aggregate electoral data from El Universal, Septiembre 27, 2010]


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