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Wires Pre-Elect Candidate in Venezuela

By Alex Beech

26.11.06 | The foreign press has practically declared Chavez a victor, citing the AP-Ipsos poll as definite proof. In a questionable paragraph, Brian Ellsworth writes for Reuters: "But most polls still give Chavez a wide lead, with one AP-Ipsos poll showing Chavez sweeping 59 percent of likely voters compared to only 27 for Rosales, who points to opposition linked polls that show the race much tighter." Is Ellsworth aware that several polls are government linked through PDVSA financing, and that all polls in which respondents were openly questioned gave Chavez a thirty point lead, whereas all polls which guaranteed secrecy resulted in a technical tie between the candidates?

In another section, Ellsworth writes: "The Chavez rally contrasted with the opposition march on Saturday in which Rosales maintained an emotional but stern tone, rarely cracking a smile and struggling to make to jokes." The attempt here is to portray the Chavez rally as a big party, and the opposition rally as a somber event. I've met Ellsworth. and he seems like a serious guy, but he missed the boat here: the contrast between the Chavez and Rosales rallies was that supporters attended the Rosales rally out of choice; no one was bussed in or compensated. There were no freebies, no free t-shirts, free flags. Despite roadblocks, hundreds of thousands made it, bringing their own flags with them. Chavez, on the other hand, relied on the four lanes of highway that suddenly opened. People were bussed in , fed, and clothed in red, at least from the waist up. To measure the "mood" of each candidate is ridiculous reporting.

Elizabeth Nunez, who claimed after the last opposition march that she wrote for AP that "tens of thousands" attended because she wasn't a professional march quantifier, writes for AP: "Sunday's rally was the largest in support of Chavez since campaigning began in August and appeared to number in the hundreds of thousands. There were no official estimate by police." So now she's ready and able to estimate attendance?

Who needs an election when AP and Reuters already know who is going to win? Could these articles be labeled "entrance polls"?



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