According to an initial exit poll from the Varianzas agency, Henrique Capriles has won 52.6 percent of the vote against 47.4 percent for Hugo Chavez.
Now, we often hear that polling companies in Venezuela are either notoriously unreliable or hopelessly biased. Does this apply to Varianzas? Daniel Duquenal, one of Venezuela’s leading dissident bloggers – and a sharp-tongued critic of most opinion polls – had this to say about the company in a post about a September poll conducted by Varianzas, which placed Chavez two points ahead of Capriles:
Let’s note also that Varianzas has had a good track record recently and that YVpolis considers it the least biased of all pollsters in Venezuela.
We have reason, then, to be cautiously optimistic. Moreover, Chavez himself has made what is arguably his most important significant campaign statement so far (and no, it wasn’t his welcoming words to that leading light of failed Hollywood actors, Danny Glover, who has now reinvented himself as Chavez’s groupie-in-chief.)