“We have 530,000 votes for Pablo Pérez in Zulia. And when I tell you we have 530,000 votes for Pablo Pérez in Zulia, that’s not some estimate, or a hope, or a plan or anything like that. When I say we have 530,000 votes for Pablo Pérez in Zulia it’s because I know which 530,000 people we’re talking about. We’ve already contacted them and they’ve made a specific commitment to vote for Pablo. So we know their names, we know their cédula numbers, we know where they live, we know where they vote, we know how they’re planning to get to the polls, and if they need a ride, we know who is going to give them that ride.”
We’re on the road from La Cañada to La Concepción, south of Maracaibo, going from one Pablo Pérez campaign event to the next, and Machine Man is feeling confident. He’s sure the polls have Sunday’s race badly, badly wrong. He wonders out loud whether the pollsters who have HCR far ahead of his guy are just incompetent or actively corrupt.
“We’re going to win,” he declares, with an air of someone who’s worked through all the angles, covered all his bases, and speaks out of mathematical certainty.
Then he pulls out his iPad and starts to show me why.
“We’ve already made more than 14,000 contacts in La Cañada, and there are just over 44,000 voters there. In Villa de Rosario we’re a bit behind but we’ll meet our target of 9,000 by election day, easy.”
As he speaks, he’s flipping through a thicket of data downloaded onto spreadsheets on his tablet.
“See, we have specific numerical targets for every municipality, every parish, every voting center and every voting table in the state. We have mobilizers down to the block level. Right now I can tell you there are 12 tables, tables, in Zulia where we might lose. That’s out of over 1,000.”
In Zulia, their goal is to mobilize 80% of the people who voted for the UNT card in September 2010. Back then, 752,000 voted for the opposition, and out of those 640,000 voted on the Un Nuevo Tiempo ticket. 80% of that number is 512,000, so that was their target for 12F. They’ve already exceeded that number of contacts. Nationwide, the UNT machine is looking to mobilize 800,000 voters +.
“And that’s just the mobilized UNT vote,” he hastens to add, “that doesn’t count the votes our allies are going to bring out in Tachira, in Margarita, Monagas, the llanos, Southern Valencia. And it doesn’t count spontaneous votes, the ones who turn out without anyone having to ferry them to a polling station.”
Machine Man looks up from the screen and says, “all in, we’ll be well over a million votes. Easy.”
Then he leans back and repeats, now mantra-like.
“We’re going to win.”