WORLDPOST

The Power of Mr. Nasralla's Fame in Honduras

06/24/2013 12:12 pm ET | Updated Aug 24, 2013

On June 18, Salvador Nasralla of the Anti-Corruption Party (PAC) in Honduras went from 12.41 percent in Honduras Weekly's presidential poll at 7:30 in the morning to 57.30 percent by midnight. At the beginning of the day, we had a total of 1,902 respondents (since May 29) to our poll. By the end of the day, that number had risen to 4,487. In other words, an increase of 2,585 respondents in a single day, when the average number of respondents daily had been 95.

So what caused the sudden 97 percent jump in respondents?

We had no answer for this... until we read on one of Mr. Nasralla's Facebook pages some remarks from several of his sports fans regarding Tuesday night's soccer match between the Honduran national team and the U.S. team. The match was probably the most important thing on the mind's of most Hondurans on Tuesday, because a win or tie against the US would keep their team alive in the elimination round (the so-called "Hexagonal") of play to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil next year. A loss would mean Honduras would not go to the World Cup.

Ultimately, Honduras did lose to the U.S. 1-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, and the Honduran team will be watching the World Cup on TV.

The comments on the Nasralla page had to do with how strange it was to view and hear the play-by-play in English. Mr. Nasralla's fans noted how much they missed his narration. They indicated that no one does soccer play-by-play commentary like Mr. Nasralla. Clearly, these were huge fans of Mr. Nasralla, the TV/radio sports announcer. Remember, Mr. Nasralla is probably bigger in Honduras than Howard Cosell was in the United States.

Mr. Nasralla is known as "Mr. Television" in Honduras, and is quite likely the most recognized personality in the country. Just about everybody seems to like him (or at least appreciate him), because he is so good at his craft. Thus, we speculate that, on the day of the biggest game of the year in Honduras, thousands of people visited Mr. Nasralla's Facebook pages. Once there, many of them saw the notices we had posted regarding our poll, and many of them clicked on the link provided and voted. And, voilà... Mr. Nasralla takes a massive lead in our poll.

The numbers for Mr. Nasralla have already started to level off, and we expect that the poll results will begin to tighten up again within the next few days. There's nothing wrong (... or to use Hondurans' favorite word, "manipulative") with the surge of votes for Mr. Nasralla. In fact, it is something worth keeping in mind for those who may still doubt this candidate's chances of winning the Presidency on November 24.