Globo: “Technical Tie Expected in Venezuela Vote”
“Is it true or false that Chávez is only interested in perpetuating himself in power?” True 61%. Hinterlaces, August 2007.

In reporting on social behavioral trends, a good article should present data from reliable sources, specialists say, if one is to convincingly register a supposed change in behavior in a given sector of society. These changes should be tracked by reputable polling firms who have no material interest in the outcome of the studies they conduct. “The Death of Fact-Checking in Brazilian Journalism”

Dividida, Venezuela vota reforma chavista sob ’empate técnico’: “Divided Venezuela votes on reform under a ‘technical tie.”

Globo (Brazil) reports today.

Reuters also reports a “technical tie” — after reporting on November 26 that one poll showed a 10% margin for NO while another showed a technical tie.

Mas as sondagens pré-eleitorais não dão suporte à euforia chavista. Pesquisa realizada pela empresa privada Hinterlaces, entre os dias 20 e 24 de novembro, aponta um empate técnico entre o “Sim” e o “Não”. Entre os eleitores dispostos a participar do referendo (o voto não é obrigatório), 45% votariam no ‘Sim,’ e 46% no ‘Não”.

But preelection polls do not support Chavist euphoria. A poll realized by the private firm Hinterlaces, between November 20 and November 24, of voters who say they are inclined to vote, points to a technical tie between YES and NO: 45% YES, 46% NO.

The content on the Hinterland Web site — domain purchased in August 2006, according to whois data — is padded out with “lorem ipsum” (Latin gibberish sample text used by designers to test typography):

Integer tincidunt molestie arcu. Praesent non erat non mauris euismod tristique. Nulla imperdiet libero et sapien. Integer magna metus, consen. Ut odio turpis, scelerisque et, volutpat in, roncus ullamcorper, orci. Integer magna quam, sagittis sed, vulputate dapibus, porta ac, elit. Duis semper sodales augue. Etiam lectus neque, euismod nec.


Caso se leve em consideração os eleitores que declararam que definitivamente irão votar e os que ainda estão indecisos, o resultado seria de 39% para o ‘Sim’ e 51% para o ‘Não’.

Taking into account those who say they are definitely going to vote, and those who say they are undecided, the result would be 39% YES and 51% NO.

“Os números indicam que há uma grande incerteza, e que a vitória do ‘Não’ depende de uma participação eleitoral em massa”, afirmou Oscar Schmel, diretor da Hinterlaces.

“The numbers indicate great uncertainty, and that the victory of NO depends on massive voter turnout,” said Oscar Schmel, president of Hinterlaces.

“The numbers indicate great [fear,] uncertainty [, and doubt].”

In August 2006, Schmel reported that intentions to vote Chávez had slipped below 50%, and disapproval of the government had reached 70%. He predicted abstention rates of 35%.

On November 9, Hinterlaces registered 45% support for Chin-Wagging Chávez.

Polls like Zogby and AP-Ipsos were registering around 60% support for the Bolivarian Blowhard at around the same time (November 24).

That same month, the Observatorio Hannah Arendt showed a “technical tie” between Chávez and the opposition candidate, Rosales. As did Alfredo Keller e Associados.

(Someone has done up a summary table on the polling in the Wikipedia article on the elections, and I found that last point confirmed in contemporary news reports. But I have not rigorously checked it, mind you. This is a blog: You get what you pay for.)

Final results: 63% for Chávez, 75% turnout.

Pesquisas divulgadas nos últimos dias por outros institutos de pesquisas apontam ora vitória para o “Sim”, ora para o “Não” -mas sempre com uma vantagem bem pequena.

Polls published in recent days by other polling institutes point in different directions, some for YES, some for NO, but always with a small margin.

Globo does not name those other polling institutes.

Also citing Hinterlaces, judging from a quick search of Google News: The U.K. Guardian, The NarcoSphere, Bloomberg, the Washington Post, Petroleum World (Venezuela) — which refers to survey results from “credible” agencies Datanalysis, Mercal and Hinterlaces, — and Reuters, which in its November 26 story referred to the firm as “opposition-linked.”

That appears to be a fair characterization.

The Web site for Hinterlace contains no news, no publications, no corporate information, nothing. Much less the results of that alleged survey, with the usual paraphenalia: Methodology, sampling, raw data, results, yada yada.

It does have news clips going back to at least 2004, however.

Stated client list

Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA).
Toyota de Venezuela.
Alfonso Rivas & Cía.
Seguros Venezuela.
Grupo Aerocav.
JET International.
Publicidad Hener.
Blue Moon Publicidad
Cadena Capriles.
El National [sic]
Grupo Duncan-Titá.
Optica Caroní.
Econoinvest Casa de Bolsa.
Banco Canarias de Venezuela.
Bolívar Banco.
Stanford Bank.
Partidos Políticos [sic]
Liderazgo y Visión

Súmate is campaigning for NO, of course.

Some of the firms named only Google up as appearing on one Web site: this one. Not conclusive, of course. Google is not a complete map to life, the universe, and everything.

How legit is this polling firm, anyway?

That Globo is citing as its principal — and only named — source for the “technical tie” theory?

And why cite as your only source a firm that failed to predict the outcome well in the last Bolivarian ballot ballet?

Seems like nam myoho renge kyo or “wish fulfillment” journalism to me: State the desired result as an accomplished fact or high probability, in order to increase public perception of the probability of that outcome.

See also

There is a powerful and inexorable trend toward integrated digital newsrooms in Latin America!

In fine print: Only 4% of newsrooms have committed to digital integration.

Some trend.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
“Elections commission denies irregularities in election process; denies that indelible ink used to mark ring finger of voters can be removed.”


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