07 Aug

Ciesmori survey and a dark panorama

Ciesmori survey and a dark panorama

As everyone probably knows, Cies-Mori (merger of Equipo Mori and Cies International) has just published the results of its electoral survey, whose methodology, scope, limitations and possible manipulations do not interest me to discuss, for the simple and simple reason of the lack of evidence. As economists do, we start from the assumption that the data is fine.

Once that distraction is out of the way, let me comment on the survey in four parts. The interesting thing about this study is that for the first time we have the data sufficiently disaggregated - also coinciding with the registration of candidate lists - to analyze almost all the electoral constituencies, and make some speculations about the missing constituency, called the uninominal constituency. This analysis is divided into (i) national constituency - election of President and Vice President; (ii) departmental constituency - election of senators; (iii) departmental constituency - election of plurinominal deputies; and (iv) uninominal constituencies and special indigenous indigenous peasant constituencies (IOC) - election of uninominal deputies and IOC.

1) National constituency - election of President and Vice President

Of course, this is the part of the survey that has been dissected and analyzed the most throughout the world, so I'm not going to go deep to avoid repeating things that everyone has already said. Yes I think it is worth it however to make some observations:

I think, first of all, that the campaign of attacks on the candidacy of Carlos Mesa by Bolivia said No yes it has hurt that candidacy, but it has not given any revenue to the attacker. Ortiz remains below 10% of the intention to vote, and has risen just one point, which could even be explained by the margin of error of 2.2% of the survey. Nor has the intention of initial Mesa vote among the other candidates been widely dispersed, and those who do not know do not respond rather have come down. Where has the intention of votes lost by Mesa gone? A small part of the target / null / does not know, but surprisingly a more important part has gone to the candidacy of the MAS. Beyond whether it was intentional or not, and the long and boring debate generated in recent weeks, the functionality of Ortiz and the rest of "ch'itipartidos" as some brilliant commentator came up to call them (I don't know who was the first , but if you, dear reader, know it, please congratulate me) is absolutely evident: the only one who has won something with the attacks on the second candidate in the intention of voting has been the first.

Second issue, although the historical division between countryside and city, which has been recurring since at least 2006, seems no longer to be so blunt. Morales is still very comfortable in the field, but he no longer reaches the spooky numbers of past years. The urbanization process and the widening of the urban middle class seems to have played against the ruling party. Moreover, the perception questions asked in the same survey show a relatively optimistic population, with 48% of respondents stating that they did well or very well in the past year and 40% who feel that the economic situation is good or very good . This should show more enthusiasm for continuity. However, this contrasts with a low 29% that considers the political situation to be good or very good, and this is where the countryside-city gap occurs: the more concentrated the population, the more the feeling of political unrest is spread, very linked to the perception that Evo Morales' candidacy is unconstitutional and puts democracy at risk. More interesting, there is a direct correlation between the concern about the political situation and the level of education of the respondents: 36% of respondents who have only completed primary education consider the political situation to be good or very good, while 66% of the respondents who have a university education point to the political situation as bad or very bad. Translated these data to the intention of voting, the conclusion is obvious. It's NOT the economy, stupid. What worries the electorate is the political situation. It is clear that economic stability still gives MAS the first place, but by far it has ceased to be the only concern of the people.

The third point to highlight is that under the hypothesis of a bipartisan contest (official vs. opposition) Carlos Mesa, although he still could not win in the first round, would force a second round quite comfortably, with only two percentage points of difference between the first and the second, while, if the rival of Evo Morales was Oscar Ortiz, Morales wins comfortably in the first round, well above 40% and with more than 14 points of difference from the second. The MAS additionally has a very solid base: in the unlikely event that Evo had a start of consciousness and withdrew his candidacy, in a duel between Mesa and Ortiz he would win the target / null / don't know, with a figure more or less similar to the current intention of voting of the President. In other words, a third of the electorate, who will vote for Evo, will only vote for Evo and sees no alternative option. But conversely, Evo Morales is also the most resisted candidate, with a very similar figure of one third of the electorate who would never vote for him. In the case of Mesa, only a quarter of the electorate would never vote for him, but it would be necessary to know, if they would never vote for Mesa, who they are thinking of voting, if they resist Mesa because they are masistas and fear the candidate that threatens continuity, or if They are at least partly the potential voters of Ortiz or other minor candidates, as Mesa seems very timid or not radical enough in their positions.

Finally, note that, although most people believe that Evo will win the elections, space has been generated for doubt, and there is no longer the level of certainty that there were a few months ago. This is good and bad news. On the one hand, it is positive that the possibility of a change of government can be addressed without it being traumatic. On the other, it is a sign of a low guard against possible traps that can be made in the electoral process.

Ah! One more point. There does not seem to be a significant difference between the general vote and the divided by age groups. Although the candidates bet strongly on the young vote, because of the specific weight it has in national demography - especially the urban young vote - the truth is that in none of the age groups there is a variation of more than two percentage points with respect to the intention of general vote. On the other hand, the youngest seem to be the most determined, with only 8% of white / zero / don't know versus about 20% in the other age groups.

2) Departmental constituency - election of senators

Well, what we came for. The Cies-Mori survey leaves a good detail of the intention to vote in departmental constituency, already with an idea in addition to the profiles of the candidate lists. As of the 2009 Constitution, four senators are elected by Department, distributed by the D’Hont system, similar to uninominal deputies. While this system allows for greater proportionality between the elected and voting, it is also a system that punishes minority parties a lot and hurts democratic plurality, so that only, with the results of the survey, the three main parties would achieve representation in the Upper House, but also the third only for his performance in Santa Cruz, otherwise he would not achieve a seat. If the elections were last Sunday and the results of Cies-Mori the election results, the MAS would have 21 elected senators, achieving an absolute majority in that chamber (the absolute majority are 19 senators), and only three senators to achieve both thirds (24 senators), while Comunidad Ciudadana would achieve 13 senators, and Bolivia said it would not achieve two, both in Santa Cruz. With the difference of intention of votes in some departments, in addition, the MAS would take the four senators of Pando and three of the four in Cochabamba, Oruro and Beni, while CC would achieve three senators in Chuquisaca and the rest is distributed equally with the MAS in three departments or get only one in the rest, except Pando. Santa Cruz shows a different distribution to the national trend, with the aforementioned two senators from BDN, one from the MAS and one from CC.

So, if you win the MAS in the first round, or eventually in the second round, although much less likely, the ruling party would have control of the Senate, even if it does not reach two thirds (and, unlike the 2006-2009 period , it does not require substantial reforms, so neither are two thirds of life or death). On the other hand, winning in the second round Mesa, he would have enormous difficulties in reaching agreements in the Senate, because even if he made an alliance with the Oscar Ortiz group, it is not enough for him to have a majority in the Senate.

3) Departmental Circumscription - election of multinominal deputies

Something similar, although less dramatic, occurs in the Lower House. The MAS would achieve with these numbers 34 seats of the 60 that correspond to the plurinominal deputies (we will talk about the other 70 seats in the next point), which wins a good advance of 26% of the seats in play in plurinominal lists. For its part, Comunidad Ciudadana achieves 20 seats per list, with an almost national presence (except for Pando, which also only has two plurinominal deputies), while the Bolivia group said No barely gets 5 plurinominal deputies, all obtained exclusively in Santa Cruz. They also get a UCS deputy from Victor Hugo Cárdenas, also in Santa Cruz, which paints that department as probably the most conservative, almost the Bolivian "Bible Belt", possibly due to its proximity to Brazil and the Bolsonaro effect, or perhaps simply because don Johnny Fernández continues to have influence in that department. Or both.

Another party that could eventually start a deputation is the Third System Movement by Féliz Patzi, but it is more difficult, because although it achieves a global number of votes similar to that of UCS, but this time with its strong in La Paz, the Seats distribution system hurts it, and the votes of difference leave it far from any aspiration. The rest, PDC, MNR, PAN-BOL and FPV only play the acronym, and perhaps some uninominal deputy, which we will talk about next.

4) Uninominal constituencies and IOC - election of uninominal deputies and IOC

If the previous three points were based on the survey data without further treatment than their conversion to votes in proportion to the current electoral roll (the new one has not yet been approved), trying to understand how uninominal seats could be distributed is almost pure speculation . To a large extent the odds of winning seats in uninominal constituencies and IOC special constituencies depend on individual candidates, and while cross-voting is not usually prevalent - especially among MAS voters who are particularly disciplined - it cannot be ruled out either. of the cases. Therefore, to try to complete the panorama, we made a calculation of probabilities that gives us ranges of possible results, under the assumptions that (1) the cross vote is kept to a minimum and is the exception and not the rule, ( 2) voting trends can be estimated based on historical trends, particularly between the 24 constituencies of the capital cities plus El Alto and the 39 constituencies that cover rural areas and intermediate and small cities (although I adhere to the methodological observation made by Carlos Hugo Molina, for which the pollster has invented a totally new classification), and (3) that the distribution of the vote between the parties is more or less similar to the intention of vote divided between capital cities plus El Alto and the rest of the constituencies

Thus, the MAS is the one with the broadest range of conquering seats, between 34 and 48 possible uninominal seats, which, added to the plurinominals, would give it between 68 and 82 deputies, which would establish a strong dominance in the low camera. Consider that 66 seats are needed to have an absolute majority and 87 seats to have two thirds of the Chamber.

Much more firm in the possible variations, but also far behind the MAS, CC could obtain with the current data between 15 and 18 uninominal seats, adding between 35 and 38 seats in total in the chamber, being very far from any parliamentary majority, which would seriously compromise your ability to govern. Bolivia He said He would hardly achieve between 10 and 11 deputies in total, which is not enough even to negotiate a meaningful alliance with the Citizen Community. The rest of the seats, adding plurinominal and uninominal, could be distributed with up to three (including the plurinominal of Santa Cruz) for the UCS, up to two uninominal for the MTS, and perhaps unite for PAN-BOL. The rest of the parties would not achieve a single seat in any constituency.


Thus, a gloomy picture is painted. The MAS, while not yet winning in the first round, seems to have the pan by the handle. With that amount of votes in both houses of the Plurinational Assembly, it could even threaten dismissals by trial of responsibilities and overthrow a possible opposing government. Of course, that will be a major factor in influencing the vote in an eventual second round. Or, you may not even need it: 37% is very close to 40%, the distance with Mesa is still widening, and with a little help from the TSE, its huge proselytizing resources, and some occasional out there, It should not be too difficult for the illegal candidate to win a victory, burying forever the validity of constitutional limits to power.

However, not everything is lost. The Citizen Community has it difficult, but not impossible. The probabilities (not the intention to vote) of Mesa seem to be clear, and they are not few, even if they are not majority. However, a change in strategy is urgent. Now that the lists of candidates have been presented, one must work hard to show the population that it is not enough to vote for the candidate for President. The Citizen Community needs to work much more as a party, with discipline and coherence in the discourse, and the gaffes of the recent past must be overcome. CC has no room for error, and must focus on clearly distinguishing itself from the ruling party while getting rid of the withdrawal that is BDN and the ch'itipartites. I no longer have dreams of unity between opposition parties, that is not going to happen, but CC can concentrate the unity of the electorate under its cloak. And, in addition to all of the above, CC has to work much more in departmental and uninominal constituencies.

For his part, Oscar Ortiz, worse with the abandonment of his vice-presidential candidate, is at a moral crossroads is enormously important. While it is true that the surveys are not a prediction, but their reading requires longitudinality, the trend in time of BDN-21F seems to show that there is no greater hope, Ortiz does not grow or decrease, just absorb that 8-9% of More neo-conservative voters, and that's fine, that orders the political map, but in the present case it also puts democracy's defense at risk. Ortiz needs to reflect well on what is most important, a minority but noisy presence of the elites of Cruz in the Assembly, or block the prorogistic aspirations of Evo Morales.

Finally, for all the rest, again, the only thing at stake is its acronym. Maybe some of them get a seat. Maybe not. Is it worth the effort in terms of time and resources involved in a campaign? I do not think so. Jaime Paz understood. I hope that the other candidates of these ch'itipartites also understand it. Does it mean that the potential voters of these ch'itipartites are suddenly going to vote for Mesa, or Ortiz? Of course not. But the survey is eloquent in this: If in fact the election is reduced to only two options, only Carlos Mesa will be able to prevent re-election. It is not speech, it is mathematical. The odds in that scenario are completely reversed, 70% chance of winning, if it is not in first is in second, for Mesa, and only 30% chance of winning for Evo Morales, let alone if it goes to ballot. Just like that.



Esteban Morales has a degree in Legal Sciences with a Diploma in Local Economic Development Management.