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Chilean Presidential Elections

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sun, 20 Dec 2009 10:54:37 -0300

[Some background if you're not from Chile - the first round of the
presidential elections were last weekend.  The top two candidates were
as expected and will go into the second round, but it's becoming
increasingly clear that the right-wing candidate is going to win.]

I just saw this data in the newspaper:

District 29 (La Pintana, Puente Alto, Pirque + San Jose de Maipo - an
area of lower middle class and working class voters) has a population
953,000.  In comparison district 23 (Las Condes, Vitacura and Lo
Barnachea - upper middle class, upper class) has a population of
4730,000.

In district 29 (poor), 39.5 % of the votes were for the right wing
candidate; in district 23 (rich) he received 71% of the votes.  But in
district 29 only 22% of the population voted.  While in district 23
48% voted.

The obvious conclusion is that the right receives a significant boost
because richer people are much more likely to vote (presumably because
they are less disenfranchised with the already surprisingly right for
a "left wing" govt....).

The way voting works here in Chile is that (1) registration is
optional, but necessary if you want to vote and (2) if you are
registered, you must vote (or pay a fine).

And so the obvious question is: was the left running a huge campaign
in the poorer areas 6 months ago to get them to register to vote?
There was certainly a government sponsored campaign ("tengo poder" and
"yo voto" posters), but I assume that was not (probably could not be,
legally) targeted.  I have no idea if there was such a campaign, but
whether there was or not, and how effective it was, probably decided
this election.

Andrew

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