Datanálisis throws in the towel (UPDATED)

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Reputable Venezuelan pollster Datanálisis has just leaked its final poll before the election. The results are jaw-dropping, but for the wrong reasons.

Their poll, leaked to Bloomberg’s Charlie Devereux and Dan Cancel, has Chávez at 47%, Henrique Capriles at 37%, and get this … roughly 15% of voters are still undecided.

So, let’s walk through the scenarios…

Suppose on October 7th the 15% undecided abstain. Chávez gets 56% and Capriles gets 44%. That is perfectly consistent with the poll! Datanálisis comes out looking great.

Suppose instead that Chávez gets 52% and Capriles gets 48%. Datanálisis can then come out and say most undecideds broke for Capriles, but not enough to stem the tide. Their reputation is intact.

Suppose instead that Capriles gets 52% and Chávez 48%. Datanálisis then says that most of the undecideds went with Capriles, as they thought they would. Veinte puntos!

In fact, there isn’t a single plausible scenario where Datanálisis is proven wrong. Every possibility is consistent with their poll.

I dunno, but the whole point of a poll is to shed some light on what’s going to happen. There must be some sort of prediction we should be able to get from these numbers.

What am I missing here? Are these all voters or likely voters? If it’s all voters, then why aren’t we looking at numbers for likely voters? And if it’s likely voters, how can there still be 15% undecided? I guess there is some technical issue here that I’m missing. It would be great if we had more information…

In the meantime, I am just not buying this at all, at least not at this stage of the game. This isn’t a poll, it’s a tautology.

UPDATE: A couple of readers whom I trust chime in. They say that Datanálisis is actually predicting a Chávez win, and that the large number of undecideds show up mostly when you look at all voters and not likely voters. Apparently, once you narrow it down to likely voters, Chávez’s advantage remains at 11 percentage points. They say that a Capriles win would clearly make Datanálisis’ clients believe the firm made a mistake. I’ll post an update during the day, as apparently several pollsters are giving out final numbers.