My friends keep giving me Hell for not being more optimistic, some even send me tweets that are meant to say I have no clue what I am talking about. However, in the absence of any new information, I think it is a still a close race and Capriles has the momentum. I just need more one data point to make my prediction and I should get that in the next two days. Yes, I am going to say Capriles will win, that seems to be the likely result. But I am not in the camp of a 10% victory by Capriles or even a 5% victory, I think it will be smaller even if I have lots of respect for Daniel’s data, which he just published.
There are many reasons to get excited, Capriles has the momentum, the rallies are huge, the response to Capriles is extraordinary and Chavistas should really not be as motivated as the opposition. But…
-The numbers are not overwhelming in Capriles’ favor in reputable polls.
-The Government is pulling all of the stops.
-Abstention continues to be key on Sunday.
And when I say the numbers are not overwhelming, there are three pollsters that have been fairly accurate in the past. One says Capriles is barely ahead, one says Capriles is 2% behind and the third one says Capriles is 10% behind with 10% undecided.
I can not dismiss that.
But I always go back to abstention. Even if polls are right (Or wrong!) abstention has always been the hardest number to predict in Venezuela’s election. Most of the time, Venezuelans say they will vote and later they don’t.
Currently, most polls are saying that abstention will be around 27-28%. In 2006, a Presidential race, abstention was only 25%. In the Assembly elections in 2010, abstention was 32,5%. And that my friends makes a big difference. Never mind that Chavismo won by 26%-plus in 2006 and lost by 4% in 2010 in terms of the total number of votes.
Thus, last night, I made a little model, using rough numbers from the 2010 election and asked: How many more Chavistas going to vote in 2010 would it have required in 2010 for the number of votes to be the same between the opposition and Chavismo. The answer is, slightly more than 4%:
and to me that is too close for comfort. Because on Sunday, Chavismo has a lot to lose and they will try their darndest to get out the vote. Thus, I can not say whether abstention will be 25% or 32% and it will make a HUGE difference.
In conclusion, it does seem that Capriles has the momentum, it does seem that he may be ahead. But, but…In the next two days I will get the last data point that will allow me to make an educated prediction within the scope of my knowledge. For now, Capriles ahead, but it is very close.