August 24, 2009

Morales With a Large Advantage

MABB © ®

The latest poll (again, only conducted in large urban areas), published by Angus Reid, shows Morales has a large advantage against his opponents.

As you can see in the below table, 43% of the people would vote for Morales. This shows that the opposition has a lot of work in front of them and that the work, done until now, has not been efficient.

Personally, I don't think there is a candidate in the opposition that could stand up against Morales in the next elections. Even Jimena Costa, who has been said to be the most promising, will not be able to drive people away from Morales' side.

I think the opposition needs someone from the rural areas, preferable a woman with a strong character who is able to answer to Morales' comments and does not represent in any way the "traditional", "neoliberal", "corrupt", "elitist", "I am better than you", "servant of the empire", "urbanite", kind of candidate image. Someone who can look at Morales straight in his face and tell him, this is what you are doing wrong, and this is what we need to do instead. He needs to be attacked on his weak sides, such as his authoritarian tendencies, and he needs to be reminded of what he said and what he is doing now.

Polling Data

Who would you vote for in the presidential election?

Evo Morales


Víctor Hugo Cárdenas


Manfred Reyes Villa


Samuel Doria Medina


René Joaquino


Source: Equipos MORI / Poder y Placer
Methodology: Interviews with 2,100 Bolivian adults in Cochabamba, El Alto, La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Tarija, conducted in July 2009. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.


mcentellas said...

Still, I'm surprised Evo's numbers are up. And, in fact, he's down 2 points from the previous poll (45%). I've said it all along: Evo will win reelection. But anything less than at least 55% is a pyrrhic victory.

mabb said...

I tell you what. Morales will win and he'll get a hold of the judicial branch. All will depend on whether he gets Congress as well.

I think people are underestimating him.

mcentellas said...

The test, for me, is whether he can come anywhere close to the 60% mark. If he doesn't, it will be hard to keep order in the streets -- especially now that the constituent assembly is done w/. I think he's hyped himself up enough that anything less than a total crushing victory will be problematic. But, yes, he probably wants to clamp down on any institutional check against his governmental powers.

dv said...

What about Rene Joaquino? Doesn't he meet your criteria ?

mcentellas said...

Joaquino failed to win the prefecture in his own department in 2005, unlike either Jose Luis Paredes (mayor of El Alto, allied w/ Podemos, elected prefect for La Paz in 2005) or Manfred (four-time mayor of Cochabamba, allied w/ Podemos, elected prefect for Cochabamba in 2005). If he can't win his own department, I don't think Joaquino can win a national race. My two cents.

mabb said...

Joaquino does not meet the criteria because he is not a woman. Although, I would say he has potential, if he takes a stand.

The new candidate needs to attack Evo and put him in a bad light. Politics as usual, but that is the way it would go, I think.

Also, the question the government is asking itself (and to me it has already found answers to it) is how to reach a majority in Congress. If the opposition is not awake, they might be surprised at the election results. I think the government is trying all paths to reach that majority. To control the Ejecutive, Congress and the Supreme and Constitutional courts, is to control power in Bolivia.

I am convinced that is the objective, ultimately.

mcentellas said...

I wonder if there's another Achilles heel here, though. Let's say MAS wins control of both chambers (which it very well might). If its congressional representatives depend on their local social bases for support, when does the MAS coalition become too big?

At least in the US (and other countries) parties that win big often then find themselves more worried about factional struggles. Look at how much the Republicans were able to do under Bush w/ a slim majority. In contrast, w/ a fillibuster-proof supermajority the Democrats are stuck trying to herd cats.

Part of me suspects that this could happen as well. We've already seen friction between elements of the MAS coalition: urban syndicatos v. rural campesino communities, regional divisions, language/cultural divisions (Quechia vs. Aymara vs. lowlands), and even w/in their intelligentzia (the middle class MSM vs. radical indigenous leaders vs. old guard cobistas).

What do you think, MABB?

mabb said...

Yes, that is a very real possibility. I would say that we've seen evidence of that in recent MAS' internal disputes. Roman Loayza, Sabina Cuellar and Adriana Gil are the most illustrative examples.

However, once the MAS and Morales are able to control Congress and the courts, I think the next step (in among many) is to tighten up the control in the party itself. That is, many people who become part of the machinery will have even less room to act.

My last post tried to point at this. The MAS leaders know that this is a problem, and as such, they want to make sure they have people they can trust as candidates. That is why most of the cabinet will run for office, either as uninominal or as plurinominal. They realize that only by having people who do what the leaders say they will truly be able to control Congress.

In this sense, all the possible discrepancies that you allude to might not matter, if the party machinery is tight enough to control the movements of members of the Plurinational Congress.