When I talk about October’s election, people invariable ask me about “the numbers”. ¿Cómo van los números? That kind of thing.

They mean the polls, of course.

But next time somebody asks me, I’m going to shake my head and say, “it’s not looking good…5.4102.19.”

In international context, it’s extraordinarily rare for any incumbent to lose re-election amid a spurt of strong economic growth. And in a petrostate context, it would be genuinely extraordinary for an incumbent to lose with triple-digit oil prices. 

Some will see this attitude as defeatist. I of course think of it as realistic. People vote their pocket books. More specifically, they vote the trend in their household finances. Right now – hard though it may be to believe – a very large number of Venezuelan households are seeing their finances improve month by month.

We’re asking a lot of the Capriles camp when we ask it to overcome this structural disadvantage. Because, we should be clear: that the race is even competitive is already a huge testament to the work they’ve done.