Schemel = hack, EFE = tools

This big. Honest.

So I finally got the slides for Oscar Schemel’s latest “poll.” In it, Schemel would have us believe that the moribund Hugo Chávez is actually surging on Henrique Capriles, and is currently leading by 18 points, 52 to 34.

Useful fools at Spanish news agency EFE duly reproduced these results. Newspapers the world over splashed the news in its pages.

Now, let’s see, what did Schemel say was going to happen in the primaries? I mean, if you’re EFE and you’re not, you know, a tool, the least you could do is run a quick Google search to make sure you’re not quoting just a random hack, that you’re quoting someone with a decent track record, right?

Well, Schemel is on the record saying a week before the primaries that the winner would be either Henrique Capriles or Maria Corina Machado, and that Pablo Pérez had dropped to third place.

Yes, Maria Corina Machado, who barely got 3% of the vote, was – according to Schemel – surging. It was enough of a surge to bypass Pablo Pérez and predict, a few days before the primary, that she would come in second place.

Schemel has a long history of getting things wrong. He predicted Delsa Solórzano would win the primary in El Hatillo. He predicted the opposition would win at least eight governorships in 2008, when in fact they barely managed to win five. He predicted Diosdado Cabello would beat Henrique Capriles in Miranda.

Schemel is a hack. But the people at places such as EFE that quote him are worse than that.

28 thoughts on “Schemel = hack, EFE = tools

  1. Ok, lets say Hinterlaces is way off, by how much? 20 points? no way! I don’t think Mr. Schemel is now playing for the other side, and neither is Luis Vicente Leon, The hard true is that, after 10 years, brainwashing has really paid off. I do believe that a large majority really support this government, no matter what. I would not be surprised if they get their 10 million votes or a 70-30 landslide (of course assuming Chavez is still alive come October). Scary, right?


  2. Schemel lost me when he doubled down on the “religious connection” theory over and over again. Some of those arguments are not far off reality, but when he insists that the only important reason why Chavez win, then he obviously getting lazy or something else.


    • Lazy? I would say something else! He’s a hack, no doubt. There must be some funky story behind Schemel, there’s no way you get things so wrong. He’s clearly playing the disinformation game …for pay or for whatever reason, nobody serious should be quoting him, and yet you see Jesse Chacon being quoted aswell! The world is gone mad!


  3. I don’t doubt that the situation is worse than we think. Hugo Chavez is after all a populist, and those tend to win Venezuelan elections.

    Let me beat Juan Bimba around the room a bit, Orlando Urdaneta style. My connationals vote with their ba… erm, emotions, not on analysis, even the simpler ones that below-average members of other nationalities are able to make, and it’s plausible even that Hugo Chavez has received a sympathy boost yet again, and that many horrible problems are still not blamed on him personally. Using state money indiscriminately to win elections works in Venezuela, and if you don’t think this is a kick to the groin let me rephrase it: Venezuelan voters have a proven record of taking well to electoral bribes of a trivial nature, which is not very bright, because the money wasted is theirs anyway. It might or might not have sunk into Juan Bimba’s head that Cuba is not paradise and that Socialism failed everywhere including Venezuela, but they are not all that keen at analysis.

    However I don’t think the situation is as bad as Schemel reports, or that it will not improve significantly. See, Venezuela, chavista, nini or opposition was (all of it) in a course of encounter with reality, before we knew that Chavez was seriously ill and possibly had his days numbered. The illness has only increased speed.

    In light of that let me congratulate Henrique Capriles Radonski and the MUD for staying course, not bashing (and mostly not even naming) Chavez, thus avoiding the emotional doggy doo (substitute Venezuelan moniker for same) minefield in the minds of Venezuelans; and for doing the unique service of offering a credible, really progressive alternative and a program passionately, which must be a first for Venezuelans voters, particularly if it connects and meets success.


    • I agree! Sadly, they are quoted extensively throughout Latin America. Cría fama y siéntate en el ordenador, tío.


  4. The stat design of this one is very courious to say the least. An odd selection of mostly urban municipalities, 780 interviews wich is a rather small sample and, more importantly, they were phone interviews, a small detail they “forgot” to mention in their technical note of the slides….


    • Research design, partly reflected in technical notes, finally became quasi mandatory some years ago, when it became clear that in a number of cases, including, more recently, Schemel, the sample was largely urban and the method, telephone interviews. Obviously skewed, though it would be useful to know whether they now use mobile numbers, more socially and geographically dispersed.
      I am inclined to agree that Schemel s statistics stink though I am not sure he is entirely a hack or, at least, the only one in this game. He was a pioneer emphasizing focus groups in p.o. research in Venezuela, albeit overemphasis seems to have led to his overemphasis on the religious Chavez dimention.


      • Porsia, I knew nothing of Hinterlaces until Schemel started starring on Globo and now, of course, on VTV. I was interested in his reliance on focus groups but never learned how these were selected either, another sampling issue… In my experience, you invite a “balanced” sample but finally end up working with a reasonable reflection with those who show up. More tech data should be available on focus groups in order to assess validity.


  5. Playing devil’s advocate:

    Could it be that Schemel says something for the public and a different one for his clients? After all, his clients are the ones paying for the polls.


    • That would be even worse! I could understand that the paying customers would get all the info, while only some of the results are released to the public, or that the paying customer has the results for a certain time period before the results go public, but to have two totally different result sets from the same poll is so low, it would put him in Jesse Chacon territory.


  6. It might also be a marketing thing… It’s often the case that by the final week of any campaign, right before the election, the polls will be magically accurate, even though those polls are released after the facto, so as to not “influence the voters”.


  7. First of all I saw that interview on TV, the supposed quotes are not so. Schemel indeed said that Pablo Perez had donde a terrible campaign and then these reports appeared in Zulian owned sites, coincidence? i don’t think so. Moreover here is the official report made public by hinterlaces

    Hinterlaces has been spot on in other elections, here is a clip from Globovisión (before they stopped inviting him)


    • OK, Diana, let’s see. You want me to believe that Hinterlaces did their interviews from the 7th to the 9th. That in that time they did 1,000 interviews (not 990, mind you, and not 1010, but 1000), and that the data was ready to be processed and delivered to the clients on the 10th?! Besides, why does the slide say that the date of the report is January 9th? And why was it published February 13th?

      And while you’re at it, I would love to see the dated press release where Schemel says that people have misquoted him about Maria Corina Machado fighting for first place. Because either you’re lying, or Maria Corina Machado is lying.

      These slides with their confused dates make Hinterlaces come across as less than credible.


      • I’m gonna go with nobody is lying but that people are using pieces of information to organize it as each see fit. Here is the clip from that interiew, Shcmel uses at least three conditionals (si esto continua, podría etc)

        True there was no press release, especially since relevance has been given to this now and not at the time.

        In regars with the primaries report. I suppose there is a typo and the report must be feb 9 and not january. As fas as i’m aware it was made publci feb 13th because MUD regulations were against publishing poll for a week before the primaries.


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