Mérida, May 13, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com)– A national poll conducted between April 24th and May 2nd by the Venezuelan Data Analysis Institute (IVAD) showed that 68.8% of Venezuelans believe the presidency of Hugo Chávez has been excellent, very good, or good, while 28.2% consider it to have been bad, very bad, or terrible. Opposition-sponsored polls, though, show a completely different picture.
48.5% of respondents said their current opinion of the president is better than it was one year ago, while 37% said it is worse. Also, the general situation of the country was viewed favorably by 52.3% of Venezuelans, while 43.4% viewed it unfavorably.
The IVAD poll also showed that 43% of Venezuelans would prefer that pro-Chávez candidates prevail in the upcoming state and municipal elections, while 33.9% would opt for opposition candidates.
When asked whether they agree or disagree with the recent nationalizations carried out by the Chávez administration, 56% of respondents said they agreed with the nationalization of the cement industry, and 53% said they agreed with the nationalization of the steel company Sidor. 32% said they were against the cement nationalization, and 30.9% opposed the Sidor nationalization, according to IVAD.
With regard to the president’s international diplomacy, an IVAD poll conducted in the last week of March indicated that 61.3% of Venezuelans approved of Chávez’s actions at the March 7th Rio Group summit during which resolutions were reached regarding the Colombian attack on guerrilla forces in Ecuadorian territory.
Likewise, 76.7% opined that Venezuela should continue negotiating humanitarian hostage exchanges with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and 68.8% rejected a military solution to the conflict in Colombia, consistent with the policies of the Chávez administration.
So far this year, however, polls in Venezuela have produced remarkably contrasting results, depending on where the polling firm’s sympathies lie.
In April, the polling firm Consultores 21, which is considered to be sympathetic to the opposition, reported that Chávez’s approval rating was 40%, and that 60% disapprove of his presidency and blame the president for the nation’s problems.
Simultaneously, a poll by the firm Consultores 30/11, which is generally considered to be close to the government, reported that 60% of Venezuelans support Chávez’s presidency.
The opposition-oriented Datanalisis polling company told the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional in April that 82% of Venezuelans reject the government’s recent nationalizations, and that the amount of Venezuelans who blame Chávez for the country’s problems has grown by 14% since last November.
Just prior to this, a poll by Venezuelan Opinion Studies (VENOPSA) in March concluded that that 67% of respondents had a “highly positive evaluation of President Chávez`s management,” according to the Venezuelan state television station VTV.
In February, a poll by Datos, which tends to be considered close to the opposition, placed Chávez’s approval rating at 34%, while 27% disapproved of the president, and 37% were ambivalent. Overall, 57% of respondents said the country was not doing very well or was doing very poorly.
The Datos poll also concluded that between 34 and 41% of Venezuelans thought Chávez was “totally responsible” for the nation`s problems, while between 20-25% thought he was “not at all responsible,” the opposition newspaper El Nacional reported.
That same month, the President of Datos, Edmond Saade, told El Nacional that when Venezuelans were asked to select the most trustworthy leader from a list of prominent national leaders in a poll by the CE.CA Survey group, Chávez received the most votes, with 22%.
Perhaps the most widely respected among all recent polls is the 2007 annual survey of 18 Latin American countries conducted by the Chilean polling firm Latinobarometro, the results of which were released this past January.
According to Latinobarometro, 60% of Venezuelans approved of President Chávez`s job performance in 2007, and 61% approved of the Venezuelan government as a whole. Also, 59% of Venezuelans were either “very satisfied” or “pretty satisfied” with the functioning of democracy in their country, placing Venezuela second only to Uruguay.
The Latinobarometro poll also showed that 52% of Venezuelans said the economic situation in their country was either good or very good in 2007, and that 67% agreed that the state is capable of solving the nation’s problems.