Indecision 2012: Little Venice Edition


Juan looks into the crazy number of undecideds in some recent polls over on FP’s Transitions blog…and can’t decide what that’s about!

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  1. I think it’s a question of identity.

    I know it’s hard for readers here to accept it, but people really do identify as “NiNis.” Maybe they don’t think of it using that word, but I think there is a broad swathe of the population that has built an identity out of a distrustful, annoyed, “a pox on both their houses!” attitude towards polarization.

    People who don’t trust Chávez, know he’s a fraud, but do buy a single aspect of the government’s propaganda: its characterization of the other side.

    People who look at the opposition and see a bunch of out-of-touch plutocrats bitching endlessly without any hint of insight about their own privilege.

    People who see the opposition and see Caracas Ciudad de Despedidas.

    People who have exactly as little hope for a better future under the opposition as they do under Chávez, and so tune out politics, fail to seek information, and concentrate on family, on work, on baseball, on beer, on anything but the circus they’ve come to hate – or perhaps hated all along.

    I think that’s a very widespread phenomenon in Venezuela, and while Capriles has done as well as it’s possible to do in trying to reach them, reaching them is just inherently hard to do. I think the phenomenon Datanalisis picks up when people answer the question with “neither” is a real phenomenon. And I think the likelihood is that most of those voters won’t break for either side, but will just fail to turn out.

    • Antipolítica lives on. Many people in Venezuela see politics as inherently corrupt and dishonest (thanks pre-1998 intelligentsia!). They see chavismo and opposition as the flip-side of the same coin.

        • I think those comments are very valid. I also see people who will vote for Chavez even though they despise him, because they see it in their short term interest to do so, and I know people who will not vote who support the opposition because they are concerned about the potential repercussions. And trust in venezuela is very low generally- people even tell me the ambulances put on their lights and sirens just to try to avoid traffic, which must be a common belief because the ambulances are always stuck in traffic. If you think the ambulances are frauds, are you going to open up to a pollster? And even if you do, are you going to vote your opinion? Apparently in many cases, no.

          So in short, I don’t know what a poll really says under these sorts of conditions. What I see in HCR is a guy who is a viable leader, campaigning like there is no tomorrow, campaigning where no oligarch lackey ever set foot, and people are coming out enthusiastically to see him. HCR and his team are showing people a modern, dynamic, motivated, capable, moderate venezuela. Keep spreading the news.

  2. Datanalisis does not include Dont Know or Neither as options, they are only recorded if the respondent spontaneously mentions it. It is the norm in most venezuelan polling firms not to offer Dont Know / Dont Answer / Neither and other non-responses.

  3. Given voting with pockets, don’t the bulk of undecideds represent those who don’t know if they’ll be better off with chavez or Capriles?

  4. Datanalisis in 2010 was giving the opp 45 deputies! So, I wouldn’t worry about these guys too much. I mean, only Datanalisis and IVAD are giving HCF with a double-lead. Consultores, Varianzas, Predigmatica (although Quico won’t trust it) are showing a tied race

    • That refers to a tapped private conversation that La Hojilla´s minions intercepted… He was basing his calculations on a poll that had a national sample (where, again, the omnibus predicted a 52-48 split for chavez with a 3% margin of error) and not the 80+ samples required in order to make a proper estimate of what was indeed not one election but 80+ elections in different congressional districts across the country…

      Quico did a good job in combining the results of the surveys preceding the elections with the electoral behavior of previous elections on a district level in order to more accurately predict the number of seats…

      Did LVL miscalculate? Certainly. Were the national sample numbers wrong? No. Did LVL or Datanalisis publicly predict an exact number of diputados? No.

  5. Consultores 21 says there is no such thing as a Ni Ni, that they have never found significant evidence for their existence. I think the problem is methodology.

    • Actually, Consultores has a political identification question (much like Datanalisis and IVAD) that has as categories opositores, chavistas and no-alineados / NiNis…

  6. I am going to go with this, and damn the professor… “Finally, conventional wisdom suggests some voters may not express their preference for the opposition in a survey, for fear of potential repercussions”. Lets face it, the level of mistrust Venezuelans display on basically every field is huge, and in several cases, with all reason. The last time I was in the country -a couple of years ago- I was literally flooded by advice of this sort… “No dejes que se te acerque nadie en la calle mijo … no agarres taxis … que no te toquen que tienen burrundanga… Se te acercan ‘ique’ encuestadores y lo que vienen es a distraerte para que otro te asalte…” Family and friends behaved like they were pouring advice on a Frenchman or a Swiss, not a wised-up Barquisiqueño currently living in Mexico. And a friend recently refused to discuss politics over the phone, for fear of illegal taps on the line. It sort of reminded me of an excellent movie called “The Life of Others” (das leben der alteren) about East Germany… So it would not surprise me at all that quite a few people in Venezuela’s big cities would look with suspicion at some guy approaching him in the middle of the street, clipboard on hand … “qué me viene a vender este &%$dejo…” will also be a option. And that is not even counting rural or small town Venezuela, where suspicion of strangers is a way of life. I also tend to agree with those who say that those pollsters that show too close a race are polling a bit more in Los Naranjos than they are in Las Adjuntas. Sorry guys.


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