Venezuela’s close result

Apparently, Hugo Chavez’s personal vote is not as strong in death as many of us assumed it would be. His designated successor, Nicolas Maduro, has been elected, but by a very tight margin, according to official results. The opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles, is contesting Maduro’s victory claim.

Just last October, an ailing Chavez defeated Capriles by a margin of about eleven percentage points.

4 thoughts on “Venezuela’s close result

  1. I would think the reverse. I’m used to the assumption that a popular figure carries a personal vote and their party’s vote will decline significantly when that figures leaves office, taking their personal vote with them.

    • Alan, I agree. We do not normally expect an executive’s personal vote to carry over seamlessly to a successor. Sometimes it does, but probably it is not the norm.

      In that sense, the Venezuelan close result is “normal”; but I still expected Maduro to win by a wider margin. I guess I was thinking too conventionally (about Venezuela and chavismo, that is, not about presidentialism more generically).

  2. In the US it’s rarer than one might expect for even a popular two-term president to ensure a smooth transition to his Vice-President. In the past 80 years, only FDR and Reagan managed it. Eisenhower and Clinton didn’t (albeit both their Veeps lost by very narrow margins in very dubious elections).

  3. As I think I’ve noted elsewhere, if Carter had won in 1980, then the White House would have switched parties regularly every 8 years since WW2. And yes, the Democrats “should” have won a third term in 2000, but by the same token arguably the GOP “should” have gotten a third term in 1960, so it balances out.

    Australia, UK, Canada, France, et al don’t have that degree of clockwork alternation. Someone described the 23-year Liberal/ [then-] Country Party hegemony here, 1949-72, as “the case of the broken pendulum. Curiously, France also had a 23-year period of conservative rule, 1958-81, and NZ would have had 24 years of uninterrupted national rule except for the single-term 1957-60 Labour interregnum.

    While it seems that voting for the executive is more volatile in presidential than in parliamentary systems, voting for the legislature is less volatile. Thus, while the US presidency has flipped regularly every 8 years in the past seven decades, the US House has flipped only five (?) times.

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