The Universidad Católica Ándres Bello’s Monitor Electoral Presidencial 2012 just released its second bulletin. This is an initiative led by the UCAB’s Instituto de Estudios Economicos y Sociales, the most serious social science research institute in Venezuela with a clear commitment to objectivity. In the coming months it will be monitoring the elections by examining media coverage as well as the CNE’s actions.
Highlights of this bulletin include an examination of the media exposure of each candidate—showing Capriles clearly dominating the airwaves but a tendency towards equilibrium with Chávez recovering and campaigning. It also shows Capriles leading Chávez 10 to 1 in tweets and analyzes those messages.
The Bulletin analyzes the new election regulation approved by the CNE, criticizing it for not taking into account feedback it has received. The regulation uses an excessively narrow concept of what “campaigning” is with the result that a lot of relevant activities (such as the government’s use of obligatory news coverage) are left unregulated. It also does not regulate the inauguration of public works or the publicity surrounding it.