Sunday, May 19, 2013

More Presidential Polling: Bad News for Main Parties

The Honduran newspaper La Prensa commissioned a poll from CID/Gallup, their second of the voters of Honduras.  The previous poll was in January 2013 and we discussed it here.

The results of the latest poll are not good for the two traditional parties. 

In the Presidential election,  Xiomara Castro (Libre)  leads with 28%, Salvador Nasralla (Anti-Corruption) is second with 21%, Juan O. Hernandez (National)  is at 18%, and Mauricio Villeda (Liberal) had 14%.  No response/Decline to State was 19%.  This shows a net loss of support for Hernandez  (5%) and Villeda (2%) since the previous poll in January.  Poor Romeo Vasquez Velasquez again polled at less than 1%.

The poll, conducted between May 1 and May 8 of 1200 voters in 16 departments, has a margin of error of 5 percent.

Those are the raw numbers, but there's more here than that.

The article contains a chart showing party preference of the Honduran electorate from 2006 to the present.  It shows steady erosion of support for the National Party since Porfirio Lobo Sosa took office, from 38% to 32% of the electorate.  It shows fairly steady erosion of support for the Liberal Party as well, from a high of 43% in 2006, to 24% today (there's an error in the chart accompanying the article; the text makes it clear that in this survey the Liberal party has 24% support). 

La Prensa makes much of the fact that 24% is an increase over the previous result for the Liberal party, but the change is within the margin of error of the poll, so there's no trend evident here.  Likewise, La Prensa makes much of a small decline in support for Libre, from 21% to 18% over the last period, but again, this is within the margin of error, and not interpretable as a trend.  The Anti-Corruption Party also shows a 2% decline in support since the January survey, again within the margin of error.

So, if the traditionally dominant parties are losing support, where are those voters turning?

CID/Gallup split out the support for presidential candidates by party membership.  Xiomara Castro had high support among her own party respondents (87%) but also was supported by 25% of the Liberal Party members in the survey.  Salvador Nasralla draws support from his small party (87%), but also significant support from both National (20%) and Liberal party (13%) members.  Mauricio Villeda has support from 42% of Liberals, but lacks significant support in any other party.  Likewise, Juan O. Hernandez has support from 48% of National Party members, but lacks significant support among other party's members.

The majority of independents, those not part of any of the above parties, were not supporting any candidate (43%), though Nasralla picked up significant support among independents (27%) as did Castro, to a lesser extent (17%).

The big story here, though, is again the No Response, Decline to State faction.  25% of Liberals expressed no preference for a candidate.  Likewise, 17% of National Party members had no preference.  Even 4% of the members of the newly formed Anti-Corruption party reported no preference, when the only reason for the existence of the paper is the presidential run of Salvador Nasralla.

So will this influence the actual outcome of the presidential election? That is harder to predict. CID/Gallup is reported in La Prensa as saying that the two newly formed, and now leading parties, Libre and the Anti-Corruption Party
do not have the number of supporters that the National and Liberal Parties have, and that makes us ask if in the end, can these new organizations implement a get-out-the-vote plan the way the traditional parties do?
It takes money, organization, and logistics to carry out a get-out-the-vote plan, so this is a legitimate question.

We actually have no indication how any of these parties will perform in this election.  So far the two traditional parties have been trying to quiet infighting among factions. Villeda has complained about being poor, which might have an effect on the get out the vote efforts of the Liberal Party.

And then there's the 20% of the electorate that is just not interested in any of the candidates. This should be a very unusual election, well worth watching closely.

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