Lies, Gabbling Lies, and The Political Pollsters Reuters Relies On? Margins of Error in Ecuadoran Referenda


On Ecuadoran television, presidential candidate Álvaro Noboa, a “pro-business” banana billionaire, declares himself a “messenger from God,” sinks to his knees, and “downloads Jesus.” The Brazilian technology consortium hired to conduct the quick count — the same used by Brazil’s own elections authority — failed to deliver, and its executives fled the country to avoid an election fraud probe. And another monument to faith-based engineering collapses into a smoking hole. Source: Telemundo (USA).

If the polls start to converge on this kind of “technical tie” between Lula and Alckmin, we are in a risky situation. In the situation of a technical tie, the possibilities of electoral fraud are enormous. I would say that the temptation of electronic fraud would be impossible to resist. Maria Helena Moreira Alves (Brazil). See I’ve Seen This Movie II: When Mapaches Learn to Play Maracatú.

Two of Jucelino’s predictions failed to come true: An attack on Pope Benedict XVI in March 2006 and the victory of Geraldo Alckmin in the last presidential elections. Regarding Alckmin, he explains that premonitions have margins of error, and that the election was marred by electronic voting fraud. — See Buemba! Buemba! Buemba! Internet Nostradamus Has Priors for Humbuggery!

El oficialismo obtuvo 72 bancas en la Asamblea: The party of Ecuadoran President Correa reportedly wins 72 of 130 seats in the constituent assembly that will draft a new Constitution.

Commemorate or commiserate, or shrug your shoulders, as appropriate to your own degree of interest in the politics of Ecuador.

I personally have absolutely none, although I find it an interesting topic.

I am not Ecuadoran, and do not own stock in fruit companies. I like bananas — especially Elvis-style fried banana sandwiches, with peanut butter — but my living does not derive from their cultivation. Perhaps yours does.

What interested me, on the other hand, purely from the journalistic point of view, was this note from Reuters Brasil, published September 26:

O movimento Aliança País, ligado ao presidente do Equador, Rafael Correa, deve conquistar cerca de 50 cadeiras na eleição de domingo para uma Assembléia Constituinte a ser formada por 130 membros, indicou na quarta-feira um instituto de pesquisa.

The Alianza País movement linked to President Correa, should win some 50 seats in the election on Sunday for a constituent assembly with 130 members, a polling institute predicted on Wednesday.

That prediction was short by 44%.

The Brazilian Nostradamus of the Internet who predicted a narrow victory for the opposition candidate in the last elections here — he actually lost by a margin of 21% — was only off by some 30%.

Isso significa que o dirigente precisará formar alianças para ver aprovadas as novas normas constitucionais.

This means the Ecuadoran leader will have to form alliances in order to see his new Constitution approved.

I gather that still is true, if the Assembly will observe the principle of a two-thirds plurality, which is customary in such situations.

Morales in Bolivia, enaged in a similar nation-building project, was talking about making it a simple majority, but even some of his supporters thought that was a bad idea, apparently.

Polibio Córdova, diretor do instituto equatoriano Cedatos-Gallup, afirmou à Reuters que o número de eleitores que pretendia votar no partido de Correa havia permanecido no mesmo patamar que o registrado no começo do mês.

Polibio Córdova, director of the Ecuadoran Cedatos-Gallup Institute, told Reuters that the number of voters planning to vote for Correa’s party had remained flat since the beginning of the month.

El Diario Hoy, meanwhile, is estimating today that the Alianza País will get 70% of the vote, or some 80, not 72, seats. With 15% of the vote counted.

Why does Reuters — vendor of a global risk-management product — even bother talking to pollsters whose predictions tend not to be in the ballpark, or within shouting distance of the parking lot of the ballpark?

I mean, if you or I had some stake in the outcome, and we bet our chips according to this Reuters-endorsed prognostication — bearing the respected Gallup brand, after all — we would have lost our freaking shirts, would we have not?

In the September 2006 elections, Cedatos-Gallup predicted a “technical tie” in the first round of elections in Ecuador, between Correa and his leading rival, with Noboa a distant third.

Cedatos/Gallup International anunció un virtual empate técnico entre León Roldós con el 20% y Rafael Correa con el 19%, de acuerdo a su última encuesta nacional cerrada el 17 de septiembre y tomada en 17 provincias del país de sierra, costa y amazonía, áreas urbana y rural. La encuesta señala un descenso de dos puntos de Roldós y un ascenso de dos puntos de Correa en cuestión de una semana.

The polling firm announced a technical tie between Roldos, with 20%, and Correa, with 19%, according to the latest national poll, which closed September 17 and was taken in 17 provinces — mountains, coast, and the Amazonian rainforest, both urban and rural. The poll shows Roldós losing ground and Correa gaining in a matter of one week.

La indecisión bajó del 55% al 49%, demostrando que los ecuatorianos van tomando partido por un candidato presidencial.

Undecideds decreased from 55% to 49%, showing that Ecuadorans are choosing sides with respect to the presidential race.

In other words, a technical tie between those who had chosen a candidate and those who had not.

Los candidatos que siguen a Roldós y Correa son Cynthia Viteri del PSC con un descenso del 15% al 13%, Alvaro Noboa que se mantiene con el 10%, Gilmar Gutiérrez con 3%; Marco Proaño y Fernando Rosero con 2% cada uno y otros candidatos con 1% o menos.

The candidates trailing the frontrunners are Viteri, who fell from 15% to 13%; Noboa, who stands firm with 10%; Gutiérrez with 3%; Proaño and Rosero with 2% each; and a few other candidates polling less than 1%.

The result of the first round was that Noboa emerged as the most voted candidate — and the Brazilian technicians who ran the vote count had to flee the country to avoid being jailed on suspicion of election fraud.

First round results as reported by Ecuador’s elections tribunal, rounded:

  1. Noboa, 27%
  2. Correa, 23%
  3. Gutiérrez, 17%
  4. Roldós, 15%
  5. Viteri, 10%

See

See also

Weirdly, an Cedatos-Gallup Web site poll — “not representative of the population in general, but only of visitors to our Web site — just ahead of the second round predicted the margin of victory by Correa — approximately 14% — within a percentage point:

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Expect to see an ORVEX-style “the elections were fraudulent!” campaign shortly with regard to that referendum.

That would be my prediction at this point.

El presidente de Ecuador, Rafael Correa, planteó ayer la necesidad de que haya “elecciones anticipadas” para su cargo, el del vicepresidente y el de todos los congresistas, cuando rija la nueva Constitución que surgirá de la Constituyente electa el domingo en comicios donde el oficialismo obtuvo una cómoda mayoría propia.

Ecuadoran President Correa said “early elections” and needed for his post, the vice-presidency and the Congress once the new Constitution, produced by the constituent assembly elected on Sunday, in which the official line won a comfortable majority, comes into effect.

La oficialista Alianza País alcanzó el domingo un nuevo y categórico triunfo al alzarse, según estimaciones todavía extraoficiales, 72 de los 130 cargos en disputa, tal como lo expresó el mismo Correa en la mañana de ayer en un desayuno con la prensa extranjera.

The officialist party won a fresh and resounding triumph; according to unofficial estimates, 72 of the 130 open seats, as Correa said yesterday at a breakfast with foreign correspondents.

“Es un gran espaldarazo el que nos dio el pueblo de Ecuador” en los comicios de ayer (por el domingo), dijo el mandatario al señalar que su Gobierno y su movimiento no tienen “margen para fallar” en este cambio que demanda la ciudadanía, en lo que denomina una revolución ciudadana en el camino del Socialismo del Siglo XXI.

“It is great show of support that the people gave us” in the Sunday elections, he said, pointing out that his government and his movement have no “margen for failure” in effecting change demanded by the citizenry, in what he calls a citizen revolution on the path to 21st-Century Socialism.

En la búsqueda de esa reforma institucional que promueve para el país, Correa planteó la necesidad de “elecciones generales anticipadas” y dijo que “deben alcanzar al menos al presidente, al vicepresidente y a todos los legisladores porque habrá una nueva constitución y debemos someternos a ella”.

In search of this institutional reform he is promoting for Ecuador, Correa spoke of the need for “early general elections” and said “they should affect at least the president, vice-president and the entire Congress, because there will be a new Constitution to which we will all be subject.”

Corporate clients of the polling firm in question include:

  • Coca-Cola
  • Compaq Computer Corporation
  • IBM Corporation
  • Compaq del Ecuador
  • IBM del Ecuador
  • XEROX


In the dark, all beans are unsortable into light and dark. Unlike the Confucian yin and the yang, in the Manichaean fairy tales spun by Reuters, the Dark Side of the Force does not interpenetrate with the Bright Side. It merely infiltrates it.

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