I am not sure what to make of AD’s backing of Pablo Perez as its Presidential candidate. The much-desired endorsement could work both ways, it could be the push Perez needs to get closer to Henrique Capriles or simply the kiss of death of his campaign.
As the party of the opposition with most militants and votes in recent regional elections, having AD’s endorsement will be very helpful come primary day, as AD’s voters will certainly go to the polls and express their opinion. The problem is that primary day is still 100 days away and Pablo Perez’ candidacy so far does not seem to have taken off. Given the fact that most Venezuelans, particularly those in the middle, those of the Ni-Ni variety, are so party-phobic these days, AD’s backing may hurt Perez in the polls and his candidacy may simply run out of gas before the AD party faith full can go help in February.
Thus, I don’t feel sorry for the losers in the “get AD’s backing race” Antonio Ledezma and Maria Corina Machado. The first one has proven to be very good at campaigning, but AD’s backing would have had the same effect and he runs far in the polls. As to Maria Corina, if she was truly trying to get that endorsement, it simply does not fit, as she is the least JuanBimbaesque candidate of them all.
Thus, in the end this endorsement is important because it will help decant the race. Once candidates register, I expect no more than two or three of them to have significant support in the polls, at which point I will tell you what I think. My intuition at this points says that yesterday may have been Pablo Perez’ high point of the campaign.
But what do I know? I think Chavez’ popularity should be less than half of what it is, but it ain’t…