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The Collective
Saturday, November 24, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via Reuters: Poll says Chavez loses Venezuela referendum lead

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has lost his lead eight days before a referendum on ending his term limit, an independent pollster said on Saturday, in a swing in voter sentiment against the Cuba ally.

Forty-nine percent of likely voters oppose Chavez’s proposed raft of constitutional changes to expand his powers, compared with 39 percent in favor, a survey by respected pollster Datanalisis showed.

Just weeks ago, Chavez had a 10-point lead for his proposed changes in the OPEC nation that must be approved in a referendum, the polling company said.

Intriguing if accurate, insofar as Chávez has been quite successful at the polls since his original election in 1998.

Of course, it is possible that there is something wrong with this specific poll-subsequent polls will allow us to know if there really has been a reversal in the overall trend:

Saturday’s poll was the first Datanalisis survey in the campaign to project Chavez could lose. It also contrasted with the general trend of most other surveys taken earlier this month that have shown Chavez winning amid low turnout and despite widespread skepticism of his proposal.

If Chávez does lose, it will be very interesting to see how he reacts in terms of whether he will seek another way to extend his presidency beyond 2013.

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Filed under: Latin America, Elections | |

5 Comments

  1. I find it difficult to believe that Chavez will lose these referenda; putting aside questions of the legitimacy of the poll, the Chavistas have a well-organized machine to get out their core constituents to vote.

    On the other hand, opposition supporters may be deliberately underreporting their turnout intentions (and since they tend to be high SES, you would think they’d be more likely to turnout than Chavistas, not less so). And the disastrous effects of his price controls on the supply of basic staples may motivate at least some of Chavez’s supporters to turn against the proposals.

    Comment by Chris Lawrence — Saturday, November 24, 2007 @ 10:47 pm

  2. I was about to say what Chris says in his first paragraph.

    As for the second point, is there any evidence that SES is a predictor of the likelihood of turning out in Venezuela under Chavez? I have no idea, but if there is such a relationship, my guess is lower SES (i.e. Chavez constituency) is more, not less, likely to vote.

    Comment by MSS — Sunday, November 25, 2007 @ 3:07 pm

  3. I will, in fact, be shocked if he loses.

    And yes, one would think that lower SES would be more pro-referendum.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Sunday, November 25, 2007 @ 3:14 pm

  4. Not only more favorable to Chavez and his referendum, but also more likely to mobilize in this case.

    Comment by MSS — Sunday, November 25, 2007 @ 6:16 pm

  5. A democratic republic is the worst of all forms of government, except for all the others. Updated - Twice.

    John Howard’s almost twelve year run as the most important Australian politician are up, victim to a coalition of gun-rights folks, activist labour union leaders, those who like popular participation in government at the local level in terms of m…

    Trackback by Pros and Cons — Sunday, November 25, 2007 @ 10:24 pm

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