I wish we could ask Paul the Octopus, the amazing German mollusk that accurately predicted World Cup outcomes, who will win
There is a lot at stake for narcissist-Leninist President
According to a nationwide poll released this week by the
The same poll reveals that, because of
"If the election were held today, the Chavez forces and the opposition would be very even," Hinterlaces director
Another recent survey by the Datanalisis polling firm agrees that pro-government and opposition forces are virtually tied in the race for September's mid-term elections.
Intrigued, I asked Datanalisis director
"That's what usually happens, but it won't be that easy for him this time," Leon said. "Chavez cannot increase public spending because doing that at a time of shortages, without being able to increase the supply of goods, would shoot up inflation even more."
Chavez has stepped up government takeovers of companies and ranches in recent weeks, blaming the business community for the country's mounting problems. His strategy is to increase social polarization, both to consolidate his base and to have new excuses to clamp down on pro-opposition media, such as the Globovision TV network.
But that has its political costs, too, pollsters say. Most Venezuelans are getting tired of the constant blame game, and are eager for a more peaceful political atmosphere, the surveys show.
My opinion: Chavez is likely to win a majority in the
Still, if the opposition wins more than half of the vote but fails to obtain a congressional majority, it will embarrass the Chavez government, and will embolden opposition candidates to unite in an effort to defeat the president in 2012.
Unfortunately, we won't be able to ask Paul the Octopus, who became world famous for picking World Cup winners from two boxes with mussels presented to him at an aquarium in Oberhausen. His handlers announced earlier this week that Paul is retiring at age 2 ½, six months before his species' life span.
But I wouldn't be surprised if the Oracle of Oberhausen were still in business, he would pick the box of mussels that says Chavez loses the vote but wins
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(C) 2010 Andres Oppenheimer