With three official CNE bulletins under our belts, we can review how Lara voters acted in comparison to the last presidential vote.
Last Sunday, Chávez won with only 51,03% of the vote. Henrique Capriles got 48,17%. That’s one hell of a swing, but it wasn’t enough to turn the state blue.
In number of votes, Chávez went from 515,715 votes six years ago to 482,286. That’s 33,429 fewer votes for Chavismo. Meanwhile, the opposition almost doubled its votes: from 257,587 in 2006 to 455,317 in 2012. The MUD increased its tally by almost 200,000 votes.
Chavismo’s local heads, Luis Reyes Reyes (father and son) have reason to worry about these results. But there are some good news for them here as well. The devil is in the details.
HCR didn’t just keep the opposition’s stronghold of Eastern Barquisimeto, but took a key section of the downtown area from the reds (Parroquia Concepción) and made serious inroads in the Western part of the city. In Parroquia Juan de Villegas, for example: Chávez won just like in 2006, but he lost 20% in 2012. Same pattern in working class areas in the north of the city.
What’s more, Capriles took the middle class suburb of Cabudare from Chavismo. Chávez won by 10 points in 2006 but now Capriles turned it around to a 20-point lead. Amazing. The surburban area could switch sides in the local elections, as the opposition is united behind one candidate (unlike in 2008). Capriles also took Duaca and transformed it from a safe chavista area into a deadheat.
Then comes Carora, a mid-size town where Capriles had a very good rally back in September. Chávez won 2-to-1 there in 2006 and lost some ground now, but he kept it after all. Same thing in happened in El Tocuyo, Quibor, Sanare and Siquisique, but by a lesser margin than in Carora. Capriles went there during the course of the campaign.
Rural areas gave Chávez a solid barrier that overcame the losses on the large urban areas. The same thing happened more or less across the country. El campo es rojo, rojito.
There has been some serious erosion from chavismo here. The Chavista mayors of Barquisimeto, Cabudare and Duaca should be concerned. The role of Governor Falcon had a noticeable effect here. The key for him is to keep people motivated and insist with moderate Chavistas that him can serve as a possible political counterweight.
Reyes Reyes (Sr.) doesn’t have a safe path to victory in the upcoming election on December 16th. He must gamble on trying to turnout his base and suppress opposition turnout. The good news for him is that Chávez will help him out, the the bad news is he’s no Chávez and people still remember his previous eight years in office. No está fácil…
In the end Lara didn’t end up being a bellweather state. The vote shifted internally in complicated ways, but the state was certainly more Capriles-friendly than the norm. December 16th will be mighty interesting here.