Another poll shows the gap is closing

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Schooling the pollstersUntil today, I had never heard of Encuestadora 6to Poder Datos.

I had heard of Datos, alright, easily the most secretive but one of the best regarded pollsters in Venezuela. But this one didn’t ring a bell.

Then I used The Google and found out it is headed by Eugenio Escuela, who has been running polls under his own name for a long time. It’s apparently a joint venture between Escuela and the Venezuelan (opposition) newspaper 6to Poder. Here is the note from when the polling firm was launched.

At any rate, they have apparently come out with two polls recently, one in June, another one yesterday. They show the gap is closing, although Chávez still leads Capriles 41-35. 23% are undecided.

Is it legit? Who knows. But it’s a data point. And it confirms this little graph by our friend Iñaki.

Quico’s dissent is after the break…

Quico here. As y’all know Juan and I don’t always agree, which has always been a net positive for the blog. Today’s post is a clear case in point: I wouldn’t trust 6to Poder Datos any further than I could throw it.

Why? Because I’m suspicious of never-before-heard-of pollsters that surface for the first time a couple of months before an election, and I’m especially suspicious of pollsters that are clearly associated with one side of the political divide or another, and I’m extra special suspicious con doble tirabuzón of pollsters that piggy-back on other, better reputed pollsters’ names for credibility – a particularly loathsome form of ambush marketing that pushes you right up to the edge of Fake Pollster status as far as I’m concerned.

6to Poder Datos is guilty on all three counts and, for me, it’s three-strikes-you’re-out.

They get spared from the NAOR/Predictmática funeral pyre only because Eugenio Escuela does have a track record as a pollster, (though really I haven’t assessed it.)

Still, look at it this way –

Let’s just say the shoe was on the other foot and a firm calling itself “Correo del Orinoco Consultores 21″ (but not affiliated to Consultores 21) came out with a poll showing Chávez with a 38 point lead. And let’s say that at Correo del Orinoco Consultores 21’s launch event someone took the chavista version of this image:

With, you know, Francisco Ameliach and Nicmer Evans smiling for the cameras looking all clubby as Eva Golinger pullulated in the background.

How much credence would we give that poll?

Not very much, I bet.

I just think it’s very high on the sketch-o-meter, this one.

Juan here: Healthy skepticism is always welcome. But solve this, Miss Marple: if this is an encuestadora de maletín doing shill work for the opposition – how come it shows Chávez winning? I mean, if you’re gonna make up the numbers, at least make them up right.

Another thing I disagree with is in the application of your criteria. 6to Poder Datos may be new, but Eugenio Escuela isn’t – he’s been around for a long time. Therefore, this shouldn’t count as a pollster that all of the sudden came into the scene before an election. This guy has a track record, and you’re ignoring it just because he switched jobs or changed the name of the company.

For me, this one passes the smell test. Barely, but it passes it.

1 COMMENT

    • There’s always a Mexican Accountant.

      Without a Mexican Accountant you are NOBODY.

      “Ledgers? We don’t need no stinkin ledgers!”

  1. The firm you describe – a “reputed” pollster who is heavily embedded with the chavistas – already exists. It’s called Hinterlaces.

      • Who, for the record, says Datanalisis, HINTERLACES and Varianzas have the most reliable (mas apegadas a la realidad) figures. So if he’s sane, where does that leave your views on Hinterlaces? Just curious …

        • Thank you for the sane comment (Quico) and for the questioning of my sanity (donacobius). I say that based -as you can see- on their track record. It doesn’t mean that for this election those three pollsters agree…

          • We don’t agree with YVPolis on Hinterlaces and other pollsters … but he’s sane.

          • It’s not so much a question of agreeing, it’s just what his statistical model outputs. I do tend to think that what’s happening here is that Schemel’s pro-oppo stance pre-2006 is balancing out his pro-gov’t stance later on, giving a statistical illusion of accuracy to a whore who’s simply serving a different clientele these days. In other words – watch the variance, not the average!

          • Glad to have provoked an interesting response! For the record, YV Polis, I did not intend to question your sanity! Sorry if I gave that impression. I think your blog is great.

          • Juan: Nobody agrees with me on Hinterlaces, but can’t do anything I think Quico is on the right track, I keep trying different analysis – we’ll see what comes up.
            Donacobius: no problem, I don’t take it personally, glad you like the blog!

  2. I thought I understood Spanish, but will someone kindly explain what this means?
    ““en cuanto a la pregunta ¿Cuál de los candidatos ha oído o tiene conocimiento más luego de sus respectivas formulaciones ante el arbitro rector? El 95 por ciento afirmó que sería el candidato oficialista, mientras que el 81,92% cree que el fue el abanderado de la Unidad”.

    • “As to the question: Which of the candidates have you heard of (more) or know of more, after their respective formulations (read inscriptions) before the electoral board (CNE).
      95% replied it was the offcialist (Chavez) candidate while 81,92% (not 81, not 82, mind you) believe it was the flag carrier of the Unity (Capriles)”

  3. I think that while it should certainly raise an eyebrow (here’s looking at you Borges) or two (everyone else) when you have a 6to Poder/Datos combo, plus the picture as shown above, when it comes down to it one should look at the methodology of the poll in question to see if it’s legit.

    Of course, a real SOB would fake the numbers and claim their methodology was above board, but I guess in the case of 6toPoder/Datos what will remain to be seen is how accurate they are going forward and whether Eugenio Escuela turns out to be the oppo vesion of Schemel or not.

    For now, in my book it’s “keep an eye on” and not “skanky ass pollster”

  4. I find most interesting is the large percent of independents. Why are they hedging? It seems like they will make the final choice. The gap between Chavez and Capriles seems to be less significant, doesn’t it?

    • “I find most interesting is the large percent of independents. Why are they hedging? ”

      Fear. Fear for their jobs, fear for their missions, fear of Chavismo & what they may do to their lives. These people WILL vote for Capriles in the great majority.

      There is no way in today’s Venezuela to get an accurate poll. Just add 15 to 20% on to Capriles numbers & deduct them from Chavez.

      This time around we will crush him at the voting booth & if we protect those votes, as Capriles promises to do, we’ll win handily. Just look at what happened at the primaries to get an idea of the emotion in the country.

    • I’m thinking that the fickle might be showing up as pro-Chavez on some polls, but are hesitating to show Capriles support depending on who or how the poll is conducted. Is that a possibility?

    • Well, if I were one of Chavez’s thought police, I would pose as a pollster and asking them what they thought would be a perfect tactic for collecting my hit list! Are other people thinking the same way?

  5. What is it with Venezuelan pollsters and precision, significant digits, not adding to 100%, and talking about high confidence levels with low error margins when their numbers are dependent on the barely 65% who are willing to say that they plan to vote?

  6. Yes the gap is closing……..yesterday on Cayendo y Corriendo on VTV it wa clear that the gap is down to around 23%.

    • Chavez’s organizers bussed in the supporters to El Valle, and still had a miserable showing. Neighbors banged their “cacerolas” at him. After he left, for whatever reason, two gangs went at it, and 2 were killed. The neighbors then closed the “Intercomunal” thoroughfare in protest . (And, I suppose, “Arturo” had to run for his life!).

  7. Toro shouldn’t pose as the voice of reason, it simply doesn’t suit him. From day 1 this blog was opened with the solely purpose to denounce the current government, this blog is just a stronghold of oppo partisans.

    My position about polls in Venezuela is they are simply dead in credibility, for me they are just good power point sheet makers.

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