[Calvin Tucker, a member of the British based Venezuela Information Centre and co-editor of 21stcenturysocialism.com, points out that while Manuel Rosales faces almost certain defeat in Venezuela's elections he has told his supporters: 'It is true, we are winning.' --Ed]
Manuel Rosales faces almost certain defeat in Venezuela's elections but he has told his supporters: 'It is true, we are winning.'
By Calvin Tucker - Comment is Free (The Guardian)
November 30, 2006
With only days to go before Venezuela's presidential elections, President Hugo Chávez has a massive lead over his US backed rival, Manuel Rosales. The six most recent polls conducted by recognised firms put the gap between the two candidates as follows: Zogby - University of Miami: 29%, Associated Press - IPSOS: 32%, Datanalysis: 27%, Datos: 27%, Consultores 21: 17%, Evans McDonough: 22%.
Faced with almost certain defeat, one might have expected Rosales to rally his supporters with typical politician's bluster about how victory was still possible. Instead, he issued a very curious statement: "Every single important pollster has reported we have an apparent lead over the other candidate. It is true, we are winning."
One such "important pollster" is Alfredo Keller of Keller and Associates. On November 2, Keller released a poll which purported to show that the candidates were neck and neck. Later, it emerged that the interviewees had never actually been asked how they would vote. Keller simply took a guess based on their answers to other questions. Keller is an opposition supporter.
Another "important pollster" is Survey Fast Venezuela. They published a poll on November 21 that predicted a statistical dead heat. I had never heard of this so-called pollster, so I decided to type their name into the Google search engine. They attracted a mere 35 references (all of which related to their November 21 poll) and did not appear to have either a website or an identifiable track record or methodology. In other words, Survey Fast is a bogus firm and a front for the Rosales campaign. By contrast, when I googled the unimportant pollsters, i.e. the major firms that all show Chávez way out in front, I was rewarded with tens or hundreds of thousands of references.
And then there are the really, really important pollsters. Pollsters like Víctor Manuel García, director of Ceca, who released a poll showing that Rosales was a full 10 points ahead. Garcia, like his presidential hopeful Rosales, was a key participant in the failed 2002 coup that briefly overthrew Chávez and abolished parliament.
So why do a handful of dodgy polls matter?
To answer that question, we must go back to August 15, 2004. That was the day of the referendum to decide whether Chávez should be thrown out of office mid way through his presidential term. Whilst voting was still taking place, a New York based firm called Penn, Schoen & Berland produced an exit poll which claimed that Chávez had lost by 18 points. The opposition went wild and declared victory. When the actual result was announced - Chávez had won by 18 points in an internationally certified free and fair election - the opposition claimed fraud, citing as evidence this exit poll.(click here to view entire article)