The Evo Landslide: How He Won It
Updated, Tuesday at Noon
By any measure, Evo’s victory in Sunday’s ‘revocatoria’ vote was a political landslide. According to an official tally based on 75% of votes recorded (and his margin increases as those votes are counted) Morales won 65% of the vote, surpassing his already formidable 2005 victory by 11%. He won majorities in five of the country’s departments – La Paz, Cochabamba, Oruro, Potosi, and Pando – and is split bascally 50/50 in two others that are part of the supposed opposition, Chuquisaca and Tarija.
In what other nation on earth is the President supported by 2/3 of voters? More dramatic still this comes on the heels of decades of Bolivian Presidents elected with less than a quarter of the vote.
Where did the Morales victory come from?
Below is a table I put together comparing the department-by-department results for Morales December 2005 election and the equivalent results from Sunday’s vote.
Some important findings:
1. Evo increased his vote from 2005 in every department in the country, except for Chuquisaca, where he slipped from 54% support in the 2005 vote to 48% Sunday.
2. In four departments Evo’s support jumped extraordinarily. In Beni and Pando, members of the so-called “Media Luna rebellion” Morales support leapt by 25% and 32% from the 2005 totals. In four other departments Morales’ vote jumped by more than 15%.
3. In Santa Cruz, the heart of the anti-Evo rebellion, Morales got 40% of the vote, a 5%increase from 2005.
4. In La Paz and Cochabamba, which together represent almost half of Bolivia’s total population (46%) Morales won an average of more than 75% of the vote.
If more serious political scientists that I ever get their hands on more complete data, they’ll be able to explain all this more than I can. But based on these results I am guessing the following:
First, the strong base that Evo and MAS already has among the rural poor now seems virtually unanimous in his favor and has gotten the required documents to vote and voted in far larger numbers than in 2005.
Second, in Chuquisaca and Tarija especially, and in Santa Cruz as well, those famous civic leaders who claim to speak for their peoples will find that a lot of those peoples don’t support them at all. They support Morales. By controlling the local media and in turn the vast majority of public limelight, those ‘civic leaders’ have been allowed to paint a very distorted view of anti-Morales sentiment in their regions.
None of this gets to the trickier issues of how Morales needs to deal with regional leaders, and a third of the population that does stand squarely against him. That analysis I’ll leave to later. But these statistics do make it clear that Morales has a huge national majority at his side, and one that stretches across a far wider map than many critics would care to admit.
The Bolivian population figures used here come from the national 2001 census. Here's the link.
The figures for the December 2005 election results come from the National Election Court. Here's the link.
The figures for Sunday’s ‘revocatoria’ election results come the National Election Court. Here’s that link.
The photo above is a beautiful shot taken by our friend Noah Friedman-Rudovsky, who shot it for the New York Times, ripped off by me from the Times’ web site without any permission whatsoever.