December 5, 2005

Euphoria Unhinged

I'm not just trying to bolster my credentials as official Party Poop here, but the euphoria over at Daniel and Miguel's blogs, as well as other Oppo cyberspace hangouts, strikes me as really really bizarre. Maybe it's because I'm not in Caracas - or maybe it's because it's easier to keep perspective from a distance - but I can't for the life of me figure out what the Oppo has to celebrate.

First off, suggesting that 75% abstention means 75% of the voters support the Opposition is deeply, deeply silly. In the 2000 parliamentary elections - which would tend to have higher turnout anyway, because you were electing a president as well - abstention was 44%. Out of the 56% that did vote, a little over half voted for Chavez. Say 30% of the overall electorate.

So, frankly, I don't see how 25% turnout is a terrible result for the government. Of course, we can't be sure that figure wasn't "massaged" - because CNE steadfastly refused to hand-count all the ballots as Article 172 of LOSPP mandates. But assuming provisionally that that's the right figure, it's just a 5 percentage point drop from 2000. Actually, I'd say the government did pretty well to motivate that many people to vote, considering there was no real contest, and no presidential vote.