Could Chavez Lose?

| isn't my usual source for information on Venezuela (although I guess it is turning into a red state), but AcademicElephant has collected some extremely sunny polling data from the fast-approaching presidential election. If it's to be believed, Hugo Chavez is barely ahead.

Mr. Chavez' once demoralized and fractured opposition united behind an excellent candidate–Manuel Rosales–in August. Mr. Rosales cut Mr. Chavez' once-insurmountable lead to about a dozen points in September, and at the beginning of November there was more good news: AKSA had Mr. Rosales within 4 points. Was it too good to be true? A perfidious "outlier" poll, like those flimsy hooks on which we have hung so many doomed hopes over the past few weeks? In short order, another poll appeared that seemed to confirm such concerns. A poll reportedly by University Complutense in Madrid indicated a lead of some 20+ points for Mr. Chavez. Oh well, I thought. It's just not our season. But the intrepid Aleksander Boyd, whose journalistic tricks included writing an email and making a phone call, discovered that the poll was not conducted by the university, and may well be wishful thinking on the part of Mr. Chavez' campaign. And today, we have yet another poll, this one by Penn, Schoen & Berland, that shows Mr. Chavez with a 6-point advantage.

A Chavez defeat by the modestly popular Manuel Rosales would be the equivilent of George Pataki beating Mario Cuomo—the less famous, less-well funded guy has been given an opening by falling oil prices, but it'd be a miracle if he could close the deal.

More about the not-so-scary "threat" of Chavez here.

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  1. This is when a credible history of supporting the democratic process in Venezuela would be useful, in keeping the pressure on Chavez and his government to play by the rules and runa clean election.

    The U.S. government has pretty much screwed the pooch on that front (thanks, Negroponte!), but thank God for the Carter Center.

  2. The U.S. government has pretty much screwed the pooch on that front (thanks, Negroponte!), but thank God for the Carter Center.

    Ha! Ha ha ha ha ha! Hoo…’thank god for the Carter Center’. Man, you’re too much.

  3. Chavez – the Southern Hemisphere’s “Chimp in Chief”.

    (what? that moniker only apply to white guys with big ears?)

  4. Amen, joe, amen. And I thank the lord Jesus Christ for Billy Beer!

  5. Well, I’ve certainly been put in my place.

    I’m not sure whether it was the impressive factual basis for your argument, rafuzo, or the unimpeachable logic that demonstrated my wrong-headedness.

    No, wait, I think it was the “Hoo…” That as the really convincing bit.

  6. Yo. Y’all shouldn’t be hate’n on the JC, yo. That n- be HARD. He be not lett’n no killer rabbit bugs bunny get up on his shit, dawg, without bring’n down the wood! He be all loony tunes on that bitch!


  7. Good one, joe! I’m glad we have you around for comic relief.

  8. My gut says Chavez will win. He is a typical demagogue riding high on oil money right now.

    Please revert to plan “A” and ignore him except when you must talk to him. Then, speak as you would to a normal person – addressing only facts – and do not react to anything provocative that he says.

    If, as we expect, he destroys Venezuela – and there isn’t much we can do about that – he will be useful as a bad example.

  9. Even a close victory will be a blow to Chavez. It will mean that he doesn’t have an automatic entitlement to the loyalty of the poor and working class as he has been presuming, and the whole dynamic of Venezuelan elections changes. The opposition could no longer be dismissed oligarchal puppets, because there would be a large body of ordinary people who voted against him, too.

  10. “…because there would be a large body of ordinary people who voted against him, too.”

    If the history of that portion of the world is any indicator, life is going to get very uncomfortable for that “large body of ordinary people” who had the guts to vote against Chavez.

  11. would be the equivilent of George Pataki beating Mario Cuomo

    yeah because we all follow the fucking politics of New Jersey and we all know and care who the fuck these guys are.

  12. Yeah. And who’s this Arnold Schwarzenegger people keep mentioning? Are we all supposed to follow North Dakota politics?

  13. Julian-

    Well, I assume you live in Spain, so I’ll forgive you for thinking that Arnold Schwarzenegger is the governor of North Dakota.

    For the record, he’s the senior Senator from Oregon.

  14. Akira. I agree.

    And a little later, it probably won’t be too comfortable for the people who voted FOR him either.

  15. I doubt Chavez will lose. Although it would be nice.

    Every time this socialist makes a bad economic decision, the people of Venezuela will say “Graziez senior, puede nosotros tener otros?”

  16. The likelihood of Venzuela reverting violence when Chavez loses will depend on the degree to which democratic political procedures have been accepted as normal and desireable, Akira.

    Which is the main reason why it was so irresponsible for Venezuelan conservatives to attempt a coup against him, and for American conservatives to endorse it.

  17. Of course Chavez will win.

    The more interesting question is whether he would run a clean election, one where his goons didn’t have their thumb on the scales.

  18. Why do so many of you have a bug up your ass about Hugo Chavez? Are you all from Venezuela?

    “Graziez senior, puede nosotros tener otros?”

    Excellent Spanish.

  19. RC,

    International election monitors have certified the legitimacy of every one of Chavez’s electoral victories.

    You’re starting to sound like one of those “Diebold ate my baby” people.

  20. Diebold does not eat babies.

    Before 7:00.


    On Sundays.

  21. With the exception of a few things, I think Chavez is a rather good leader and really cares about the welfare of Venezuela and its people. I get most of this opinion from having watched the documentary about the 2002 coup attempt, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”.

    Here are the two things which Chavez got wrong:
    1) “Bush is the Devil.” Wrong–Cheney is the devil, Bush is the puppet. Get it right.
    2) In the documentary, he speaks to his supporters and tells them, “They say an invisible hand moves the market. Lies, lies, 1000 times lies!” Uh, you didn’t just contradict the most basic tenet of economic understanding, did you?

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