Opinion Surveys End with Mixed Results for Venezuelan Referendum
Mérida, November 28, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com) - On Sunday, the last day in which the latest opinion surveys were allowed to be publicized in Venezuela, results provide a very mixed view of the possible outcome of Venezuela's national referendum on the constitutional reform next Sunday. Surveys from opposition oriented polling companies show the majority of Venezuelans voting against the reform, while polls close to the government show a clear victory for the constitutional reform.
According to results released last week by the Venezuelan polling firm Datanálisis, 44.6 percent of Venezuelans will vote against the constitutional reform, while only 30.8 percent will vote in support of it. But the agency also reported high levels of abstention (nearly 60 percent), making the results harder to predict. Although clearly identified with the opposition, Datanálisis has been a relatively reliable polling agency in the past, predicting a 27-point victory for Chavez in the 2006 presidential elections.
Another opposition-affiliated survey released by the Venezuelan polling agency Mercanálisis also showed a loss for the reform. According to this earlier survey, 58 percent of voters would vote against the reform, while 37 percent would vote in favor. Abstention was placed at 27 percent.
Likewise, the Caracas polling firm Hinterlaces showed that 45 percent of the electorate is against the reform, while only 31 percent supports it. However, the results from Hinterlaces show that if you take only those voters who assured that they would vote next Sunday, those who support the reform come out on top, 45 to 43, showing the importance of abstention in Sunday's referendum.
A survey by the polling firm Keller & Asociados also showed that the reform would be voted down, 45 percent to 31 percent, with 35 percent abstention. Keller, however, was one of the least reliable polls before last year's presidential election, when it predicted a narrow victory for President Chavez.
Venezuelan government officials, however, have rejected these opposition affiliated survey results that show the reform will lose next Sunday. They claim that the surveys have manipulated numbers and are part of a media war against the constitutional reform.
Minister of Communications William Lara made a statement last weekend against what he called "the media war of lies" and a "war of surveys that want to deceive us by saying that these quick polls show 'No' as a winner, and the truth is that the surveys give a wide advantage to 'Yes'."
Vice-president Jorge Rodriguez also accused opposition sectors of carrying out a campaign of lies and manipulations to confuse the Venezuelan population about the upcoming referendum. Rodriguez said that the same strategy was used in previous electoral contests to create uncertainty about the electoral results in order to later make the claim that the official results were fraudulent.
Telecommunications Minister Jesse Chacón pointed out that many of the polls only surveyed a total of 600 people, when they should have a minimum of 1,500 respondents, and that they have a margin of error of 10 percent, and are therefore not statistically reliable. Chacón pointed to other surveys that give a large victory to the reform, and estimated that support for the reform would surpass 60 percent in Sunday's vote.
According to a survey released by the Instituto Venezolano de Análisis de Datos (IVAD), 31.9 percent will vote in favor of the reform, and 21.1 percent will vote against it with an abstention of 47 percent.
Other survey companies such as Consultores 30.11 and Alemica Estadísticos Consultores also show the reform winning with nearly 60 percent of the total votes.
"The important thing is to get out and vote, to confirm our tendency in the machines," said Chacon, assuring a victory for the reform. "The bigger the results are, the more tranquility we will give to the Venezuelan people."
Published on Nov 28th 2007 at 2.40pm