C21 Says

Turns out there’s a grand total of one politician in Venezuela with approval ratings above 50%.

I dunno about you, but to me the Fat-Man-in-the-Palace is soft, soft, soft.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slide-by-slide gallery after the break.

59 thoughts on “C21 Says

  1. Does it not strike you guys as incredible that the second choice is someone who can’t run? Only in Venezuela, can an inhabilitado be thought of as a possible candidate…


    • Not at all. I think most people either a) don’t know he’s inhabilitado; and b) think that’s going to change some time soon.


    • People expect also, that to ban you from running (inhabilitar), you have to be sentenced publicly at some sort of court, or at least something is to be proven publicly.

      Neither the ineffable comptroller, Russian, nor the process of inhabilitacion pass muster. More than not passing any test of impartiality and fairness, they actually stink of the contrary.


    • Alek- I can do you one better………….who would have thought a coupster ex-con could run and win the presidency?


  2. A second relevant number is the negatives. Typically, someone in power 12 years amasses a large group of people who would not consider him or her. That number limits the growth of the incumbent, while typically not limiting a challenger to the same extent.

    I would be surprised if the two already leading Chavez do not have much more room to grow than Chavez does. It would be nice to have this info, though.


      • Yeah, that one is pretty amazing. There’s not one thing people trust Chavez to solve more than they trust “a different government”! Of course, once you plug a specific name in there, the blue level of confidence probably won’t go up any more, but could go down.

        Comment to AB/JC re: discussion above. “Nivel de agrado” doesn’t have anything to do with “inhabilitado” in my dictionary. The proper question might well show the same result (and support what confounds you – as it would me), but you really can’t read anything about electoral support into the question that was posed. Except that Chavez picked a pretty good target in Lopez. But the more I see stats like this, the more I am surprised that HCR was absolved in court. That one still makes zero sense to me.


        • Well, for what is worth, having met both LL and HCR and having seen them both “in action” in public in the political show of 06, had I been in Chavez’s shoes, I’d probably done the same. LL is someone who transmits something altogether different than HCR. I think Chavez could have gotten the same impression I got, that HCR is, erm, inofensivo. Love him or hate him, inofensivo is not an adjective people could use to describe LL. LL is el Chavez de este lado, and I think Chavez knows that.


          • I’ve met them both, too, though somewhat briefly, but it was enough to know exactly what you mean. But even if LL is MORE of a threat than HCR, I just don’t understand why the government has not treated HCR as a threat. Because he certainly was 2 years ago, and he’s more of one now. Sure, pick LL if he had to pick one of the two, but what rule says he had to pick only one?


          • Now that we’ve gone in this tangent, HCR is, for sure, a formidable opponent. As far as I understand, he’s in very good terms with some of the most powerful people in the country, people who were rich but have become sort of stratospherically wealthy under Chavez, people who control the largest and most powerful print media in the country, I am talking, of course, about Michu and el pelon Capriles, who in turn are chummies with the Bellosos, JVR….

            So while HCR is no LL, who FT says “stinks of Cisneros money” BTW, HCR is no slouch, has got money by the truck load, media, and is halfway inside chavismo.


          • Alek,

            Differences aside, there were loads of industrialists in Germany who made a lot of money when a certain left-handed failed painter and former coup monger was in power. They changed sides the minute that failed painter kicked the bucket.

            I honestly don’t see Capriles as some sort of sleeper or drone or whatever.


  3. Is there a slide with the ficha tecnica? When I read a poll I usually add 2 more points to chavez and take it from the opposition because even though they say is COBERTURA NACIONAL they miss some of the influence of the rural areas. But even so, the opposition looks very strong and that added to Capriles’ speech yesterday, it seems that we will have change in 2012. I am an optimistic again.


  4. Wait a minute…They asked approval ratings of each candidate one by one (“pregunta cerrada, una a una”), which is not the same as asking the same question with all the candidates in one list, including Chavez. The first measures only “likeability” in a non-electoral situation, while the second would be closer to what everybody wants to know: the intention of vote for Chavez vs. the rest of the opposition candidates.

    Apart from that, the data is a gold mine in terms of insights:

    1- It explains why the government is implementing price controls (# 73)
    2- It explains part of the popularity ratings of HCR, because the opposition governors are perceived as doing a much better job now than before, and a better job than Chavez and the Chavistas governors (#26)
    3- It shows an important Chavez weakness: the terrible job of his ministers (#35)

    By the way, this survey also includes the famous data showing that 80% of people wanted primaries in 2011 (# 68)…


    • Idania, that thing about the majority wanting a primary is a myth!! It never happened! It doesn’t exist! Stop believing in fairy tales! ;)

      Good catch, I had missed that.


    • Yeah, that slide #68 is crazy.

      53% wanted a primary in the middle of this year!!

      Henry friggin’ Ramos friggin’ Allup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


      • I must say this is the very first time I’ve seen a question on the matter… Honestly.

        Having said that, considering there were political groups interesting in having the primaries beyond April of 2011, and that it was almost untenable to hold them before october of this year, we got a fair middle ground. And the MUD has a B plan, so that’s good….


          • Wait a minute…

            This poll was done right after the announcement by the MUD (officialy done on the 12th, but leaked three days earlier), when the 70%-80% was floating around… Could this be accurate, or is it a case of “measuring the heart rate of someone who just went up a flight of stairs”?

            What it does show is that, having heard of the date, many people didn’t turn the page…


          • GTAveledo,

            Sorry, but the “trabajo de campo” (meaning the actual interviews) was done from March 11 to March 25, 2011, which is well ahead of the formal announcement of the MUD regarding the date of the primaries (April 12, 2011).

            The MUD knew that 80% of people wanted primaries in 2011 before the announcement.


          • Oh, I misread that. Honest mistake… But I’ve spoken with people within the MUD -particularly people who supported 2011 primaries- and they assured me that aside from LVLs statement, they -then- had nothing to prove such massive support.


          • Did they at least take the time to find out? NO, and did they at least try to explain to us why they thought February was best? NO. That’s my problem with them.
            Don’t they understand that we don’t matter at all for Chavez and we need to know that at least what we thinks matters to them? They didn’t do a good job on this one, no matter how you look at it, at the end is not about the date itself, nothing is sacred and certainly not the primary date, but the how was not good at all.


        • Moraima: They have been haranguing and debating the date and the matter for months (at least since December of 2010). They reached a consensus on maximum and minimum dates, and they’ve had a number of polls that were not giving any indication on this. If we check the polls prior to march, there’s nothing about the date of the primarias.

          In a sense, whether we agree or not with the date, the decision has been taken responsibly, all things considered. Not only they’ve ensured the primarias (the statute says so as well), and they are standing by their choice (beyond internal disagreements). This is not 2005, when the opposition was like a headless chicken. Public opinion might not always be as wise or as well informed of all the details on the matter, and the deliberation within MUD yielded this result. As Tarre shows, it was not a discussion of “old-against-new”, but rather a discussion on particular party interests, with some wild cards.


  5. Good things: The opo side look more energized, fired up and ready to go. Perceptions on the opo Governors is way better that the other side. Opo candidate will be in a excellent position to start the run.
    Bad things: Los rusos tambien juegan. I’m very worried about the trends, although security continue to be the major concern of the people, the perception of that particular problem being the single major problem dropped abruptly during this quarter. Consistent with that, the government and CH rebounded in every single indicator from likability to general perception of the govt management. So they must be doing something right. if they can maintain that effort it’s gonna be hairy, very hairy for us…
    Primaries: After HCR launching yesterday, I am personally convinced that the opposition side will benefit from a long primary campaign. HCR said that the only target of his campaign will be only one, the one. The whole dynamic of CH against multiple targets, and multiple targets against CH look very promising to me. The fact that 53%!!!! of the people wanted primaries YA, in JUNE, giving our candidate with a whole one and a year long campaign….OMFL!…(BTW, this is going to be a very expensive campaign and is still unfunded). I can understand December, BUT JUNE! GMAFB!…this is just plain crazy and suicidal, shows explicitly that majorities can be constructed around and opinion matrices without any evidence of strategic considerations….

    For those here that have argued in favor of an early primary> Are you ready to say JUNE is a good month because the majority of the people say so?

    Si el sucio de HRA las quiere en Junio de 2012, yo las quiero en Junio de 2011, nojoda!


  6. Guys, I had been thinking about the point of the primaries, and I understand our collective anger at Henry Ramos Allup for his behind-the-scenes maneuvering, and I was thinking: in US presidential elections (of course, you know, err saving the astronomical distances between US and Venezuelan democratic institutions) the primaries per se start on January, 11 months before the actual election and are done (state by state, on different days) all through April, 7 months before the election. THEN, the actual candidate is confirmed, officially, in June.

    Ok, thats the actual formal primary, but the pre-candidates are on campaign already 1 year about before the actual first day of the first primary! De facto, they are already spending half of their time campaigning for the primary campaigning for the actual presidency. By the time each party has picked their official ticket, voters have been exposed to these people for a year and a half at least.

    So, we could stop wasting time arguing about the exact date for the primaries, and let MCM and HCR and LL and PP and AL etc do all their campaigning as early as they want (look at HCR, he already started! thats exactly what they should all be doing!), and then we can hold the primaries whenever to put the final stamp of approval on whoever gets the people’s preference.


  7. the popular decision is not always the best for the country:

    1) 1998: Election of Chavez
    2) 2000: Re-election of chavez (the public opinion chose Arias Cardenas as second place)
    3) 2002: the coup
    4) 2005: the abstention
    Etc, etc, etc.

    A LEADER should be able to make hard decisions that might be unpopular in the short-term but decisions to make. The criticism that I have with the MUD is that it seems to me that the only reason why they delayed the primaries was to have more chance to score political points and to fish in uneasy river.


    • Hmm vsalomon that’s a great point… except its not.

      are you really suggesting then, that since plenty of times (according to your assumption, and that’s debatable) the popular opinion was wrong, then we should never hold any sort of primaries? I think the fact that Salas Römer was such a pathetic candidate in 1998* is to be blamed for the 10+ years of us putting up with Chavez in perhaps almost equal terms as the naiveness of the early, come-flor, well intentioned middle class who believed Hugo Chavez was a decent democrat.

      *and even so, I rather would have voted for him then.


      • “are you really suggesting then, that since plenty of times (according to your assumption, and that’s debatable) the popular opinion was wrong, then we should never hold any sort of primaries?”

        Not at all. What I suggest is that if holding the primaries later had some sort of strategic sense (i.e. is harder for chavez to attack multiple candidates than just focusing on one) and if the MUD believes that the political cost of doing the primaries in 2012 (instead of in 2011 as the people want) is smaller than the strategic gain, then you delay the election.

        If we don’t do the primaries, the political cost would be extremely high not compensated by any strategic gain we could have.

        In 2005, the opposition thought that the political cost of going to the election was too high and thus they called for abstention. In the end it was clear that this abstention policy was strategically wrong.


        • “If we don’t do the primaries, the political cost would be extremely high not compensated by any strategic gain we could have”

          That’s exactly our point, the MUD chose February 12th 2012, a date that had the highest risk of not happening. It can not be postponed any longer if the CNE advances the presidential elections, unlike any other date in 2011.

          I just hope that the primaries really happen, specially now that we finally have a pre-candidate like HCR.


  8. When do you suppose the Chavez government will gin up some sort of criminal or political charges against HCR such that he’ll not be allowed to run?


  9. If you are an incumbent, prior to a campaign, with 45% approval ratings you are in pretty good shape. Generally all the power that comes with incumbency will be enough to get you over the top. Of course, after 12 years in office that power might start to fade somewhat. Still, this is clearly going to be yet another very close race – no slam dunk for either side.

    And as usual, oil prices are the biggest wild card. If they stay at the level they are now for say the next 9 months it is hard for me to see Chavez losing – he will simply have too much money and will be able to flood the country once again with the imports that Venezuelans crave.

    However, if these high prices, combined with premature austerity measures, send the developed countries back into a recession soon and oil prices drop substantially by the end of 2011 then the opposition has a decent shot.

    I think the former more likely than the latter but who knows.


    • He can’t import his way out of an electricity crisis, or a crime wave, or a housing crisis, or an infrastructure crisis.


  10. One interesting aspect of the slides showing the trends between the different actors (39-51) is how their perception has changed throughout time:

    Slide #39 The Government vs Private Enterprise
    – This one is interesting. Private Enterprise has seen a steady increase in support from a low of 20% in 1996 to a high of 67% in 2011. The interesting part is that private enterprise’s trend seems to be largely unaffected by the government (which wasn’t necessarily the case prior to 1996).

    Slide #40 The Government vs Majors and Governors
    – From 1999 to 2004 local governments track independent of the central government. First lower then higher.
    – From 2004 to 2008 they track exactly the same indicating they’re perceived mostly as one.
    – Since 2009 local governments show more support than the central government presumably because of the increased support from the oppositon camp.

    Slide #41 The Government vs Venezuelans
    – This one is a bit of a puzzle. Historicaly venezuelans regarded themselves somewhere around 50%. With the arrival of Chavez it tracked together with the government from 1999 to 2001 indicating a raise in self esteem and hope in Chavez’s government. Then from the end of 2001 onwards it took off and settled around 80% completely independent of the government (or anything else). What does it mean? I don’t know.

    Slide #42 The Government vs The Military
    -The military during Chavez’s government pretty much tracks the same as the government with the exception of the period 2001 to 2003 when some in the opposition had hopes the military could step in and solve “the issue”.

    Slide #43 The Government vs the Media
    – Shows that confidence in the Media is largely unaffected by Chavez’s government.
    – From 2007 government media is added to the poll and it tracks pretty much the same as the government until 2010 when it starts to surpass it????

    Slide #44 The Government vs TSJ, AN & CNE
    – From 2003 on TSJ, AN & CNE track very simmilar to the Government if somewhat lower. There is one exception in the 4th quarter of 2003 where the CNE got a whopping 70% of approval while the government was at it’s lowest, most probably misguided confidence from the opposition camp during the enthusiasm of the signature collection for the the RR.

    Slide #48 The country the opposition wants
    This one is worrying: more people say that the country the opposition wants does NOT resemble the country they want (49% vs 47%). There is something wrong with the oppo message. (Still is better than Chavez’s 59% vs 38%)

    Slide #51 Political Parties
    – At least from 2000 on AD & Copei are perceived to be exactly the same thing.
    – From 2006 to 2008 PJ & UNT are perceived very simmilarly. From 2009 PJ gains a differentiation from UNT.
    – It’s also interesting how in 2002/03 PJ’s prestige was so much higher than MVR. Even AD/Copei for 2 quarters there came back from the dead to challenge the MVR. 2004 marked the turnaound for Chávez and 2005 was the lowest year for the opposition.


    • I’m personally impressed by the Church v. Government chart. It has slight movements, and the general notion is that the Catholic Church is consistently more popular than the Executive (save for the top points of approval of this regime: ’99 and ’05).

      However, once we look at things closely, the moments when the Church has made gestures toward political participation, there have been slight dips: the approval rates of ’99 to 2003 are among its lowest, and the ones after 2009, when Cardinal Urosa has made clear he’s against communism, are similar. Not too much of a drop, but still… The Datanalisis data spread is a bit different, although it shows -superficially- a similar narrative.

      I’m working on some other data for a paper I’m writing on this matter.

      Alas, every question about the Church, the Catholic Church, must be take with a grain of salt. Does the support for the Church, or the idea that the Church helps the country, reflect a positive view of parish priests (whatever their political leanings and actual distribution), pious social services, Catholic schools, Catholicism in general or, perhaps, the Bishop’s Council? This has never been clear to me…


  11. Here’s my pessimistic take on the most popular candidates for the opposition. I never heard LL or HCR say anything meaningful or with any substance. Never! I have heard them saying what their followers want to hear, but for somebody running for the highest office in the country I would like to know if they are prepared, to start with, and to know what their approach to governing will be. We don’t have the culture of mature democracies where candidates are put under the spotlight and questioned thoroughly about any possible subject related to the conduction of a nation. That’s what allowed the American public, to give one example, to realise that Sarah Palin was a phony. I have serious doubts about the preparedness and qualifications of HCR (let alone LL) to be president, but that doesn’t seem to be a matter of concern in our country, especially considering the fact that we elected an ignorant gorilla as president and we have kept him for 11 years. But, shouldn’t we be trying to correct our inability to elect the right people for the most complex and demanding job in the country? Instead of that, we are surrendering and silently accepting that our only option is to go for the guy with the biggest smile and charisma. I see your list and the only think that comes to my mind is: we are really fucked up.


    • If you had asked anybody 10 years ago if those parties would support an HCR, you’d have gotten some pretty weird stares!

      ‘Na guara!


      • Why not? LCR voted with Copei in Congress fr 1996-1997 (this led to the split that saw the birth of PPT, incidentally). PCV supported Caldera. Ismael García was also suported by Copei when he was major of La Victoria. Bandera Roja was in the fringe, but they stopped any contacts with Chavez after 1997.

        Moreover, all of them -but PPT- suported HCR in 2008.


        • After having some conversations, I think this is an spontaneous speech from a minor PJ operative down in Barinas, and do not represent the official position of those lefty parties. I expect a lot of teasing with the possibility of an own candidacy of the democratic left + PPT for the primaries, to increase leverage power of the left wing within the MUD…


  12. Can someone please inform henriquecapriles.com that Henrique Capriles is running for president?



Comments are closed.