Saturday, April 13, 2013

Venezuela Numbers

On Twitter and in news stories over the past week or so, I've seen numerous references to a tightening of the Venezuelan presidential race. But I didn't see any numbers. I kept thinking of Mitt Romney and his supporters, who believed he was going to win without any empirical evidence for it.

However, a quick exchage with Frank Bajak alerted me to the fact that Nicolás Maduro's lead over Henrique Capriles shrunk to 7.2%. Meanwhile, Credit Suisse says Maduro has a 70% chance of winning, down from 95%. James Bosworth does his best Nate Silver impression by running simulations and determining Maduro has a 81.7% chance of winning.

What does this mean? It is very common for presidential races to tighten right at the end, and for lots of unsubstantiated assertions to follow, usually focusing on specific issues that people are "sick of" and so will change their votes in huge numbers (which also occurred with the Romney camp). Even after the polling shift, Maduro has a very large lead and it will be a huge shock if Capriles overcomes it. He lost by 11 points last year, and now is down by 7 or so. We might say the difference is the Chávez effect since Maduro does not generate the same level of devotion.


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