With 10 days to go until Venezuelans elect their next President, polls show that Hugo Chávez’s favoured successor, Nicolas Maduro, is set to achieve another landslide victory for the progressive alliance that has governed Venezuela since 1998.
In the seven polls undertaken so far, Maduro has an average of 52.6%, a 16% lead over his right-wing rival Henrique Capriles Radonski who trails behind on 36.3% (see graph 1).
Just 11% responded by saying that they did not yet know who they would vote for, or that they would not vote. These figures mean that even if there was a 100% turnout and every one of the ‘undecideds’ backed Capriles, this would not be enough to overturn Maduro’s lead.
The polls also suggest another very high turnout following last October’s record 81% participation, when Hugo Chavez beat Henrique Capriles by 55% to 44%.
Nicolas Maduro’s lead widens further when looking at only those who have expressed a preference. Maduro has an average score of 59.2% compared to 40.8% for Capriles, a huge lead of 18.4% (see graph 2).
Even amongst Henrique Capriles’ supporters, there is a belief that Nicolas Maduro will win. For example according to the latest IVAD poll 64% think Maduro will be elected and only 23% think Capriles will be . Other pollsters show similar patterns. Datanalisis shows 62% believe Maduro will be president against just 20% for Capriles.
The huge leads for Nicolas Maduro reflect the ongoing popularity of the policies of the Hugo Chavez led governments over the past 14 years, in which Maduro played a central role. For example, pollster GIS XXI found that 77% of Venezuelans believed that the situation in Venezuela under Hugo Chavez had been ‘good’ or ‘very good’. The IVAD poll found that 84% described the Hugo Chavez administration over 14 years as having performed positively, with 15% saying it was negative.
Needless to say, these huge endorsements of the Hugo Chávez presidency have barely featured in much of the western media’s assessments of his legacy. But the Venezuelan people themselves are clear on the huge social progress that Hugo Chávez achieved as President of Venezuela.
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