What to look for in a debate: a cold eyed perspective

I have an urge to yet again revisit this subject because last night I noticed quite a little bit of partisanship.  Even though I have low activity in Twitter-land I still get enough re-tweets and stuff to observe that for example Maria Corina Machado generates all sorts of passions, from the bitterly negative approach of Jose Guerra who makes his own support of Capriles look the support from Caracas Chronicles almost an objective one, to the near ringing endorsement of whatever she says by Garcia Mendoza of the BVC.

Heck, I even myself indulged this time in a winner search by putting up a poll that was limited in time, just to gauge the immediate reactions of the few readers that this blog gets on a Sunday night.  That is, I am not really interested in reading detailed polls as to who won or lost because in this sort of non-debate debates what matters the most is who benefited the most from it, and that does not go necessarily with the winner label.  Amen that I called it for Leopoldo but readers went to MCM unabashedly! :)

Let's have a little thought exercise if you will.  In the table below I list first the perceived winners according to this blog and in the second part the perceived beneficiaries of the debate, that is, those who did not win but stood to benefit the most from the debate result.  All subjectively mine.  The higher your total the better off they are.

Putting aside the subjectivity of the table and its arbitrary numbering and lack of dramatic difference because most of them did good once and bad another, you can see that if we go to gut feeling MCM won, should be ahead, or at least climbing, in any sensible poll.  But if we try to do the more subtle calculation then HCR seem to have benefited the most from both debates even though he did not win any, not even close.  And is still ahead in polls as far as I know.

The problem here for the casual observer in search of blood speeding emotions is that MCM may have won but people perceive her as alone, no one endorsing her, as unable on her own to do the changes that we all agree must be done even if we hate to admit it.  Leopoldo is almost as alone but because he got at least the support of PVzl he seems more credible.  And Perez is the most underwhelming of the lot but, in the general perception of things, that AD and Copei are behind him makes us think that well, he has a chance to fulfill his promises, as anemic as those might be.

I hope that this helps folks understand why even though I called it for Arria and Lopez I still think that Capriles is ahead, benefited the most from these debates in spite of his blandness; and that Leopoldo is now the lone one that could really threaten his lead if Perez starts deflating.

At any rate, remember that we are not yet on December 12 and that this means that two full months of campaign are ahead and thus there are gazillions of opportunities for any of them to pull a McCain, to speak in contemporary terms :)