New Poll Gives Venezuela’s Chavez 82.7% Approval Rating

According to the Venezuelan Institute for Data Analysis (IVAD), President Chavez enjoys an approval rating of 82.7%, one of the highest levels recorded since he was first took office in 1999.

Caracas, Venezuela, April 4, 2006—According to the latest survey conducted by the Venezuelan Institute for Data Analysis (IVAD), 82.7% of the Venezuelan population looks favorably upon the job done by President Hugo Chavez.

Of those interviewed; 22.9% said the President had done a regular to good job; 41.8% good; 18.4% excellent; 5.7% regular to bad; 5.5% bad and 4.6% terrible.

The opinion poll was conducted between March 14 and 17, among 1,200 individuals from Caracas, nine other state Capitals, and other smaller populations around the country. 

The same poll declared that 61.6% of those surveyed did not know who should be the primary opposition candidate in the December 3 presidential elections.  Nevertheless, Julio Borges, from the Primero Justicia (Justice First) party, received the most support among the potential opposition presidential candidates, at 8.9%, which is nowhere near the support President Chavez received at 61.4%.  These latest numbers regarding Borges and Chavez have increased approximately 5% since similar IVAD polls where held in January.      

Although 82.8% believed that political parties are important, only 17.6% of those surveyed said that they were members of, or backed any of the 5 major opposition parties.  Primero Justicia, a conservative political party that was formed in the late 90’s received the most support of the opposition, with 7.7%,  followed by the former center-left governing party Accion Democratica with 3.2%; the conservative regional party Proyecto Venezuela with 3.1%; the Christian-Democratic party Copei with 1.9%; and the Zulia state-based party Un Nuevo Tiempo with 1.7%.  President Chavez’ own political party, the MVR, received 40.2% support, while 30.2% were not affiliated with or sympathizers of any party.

The results from this latest poll are similar, although slightly more favorable to the President than those made by IVAD 6 months ago.  Interestingly, 72.6% of those recently surveyed also believed there to be a great deal of corruption in the country.  Although President Chavez is not necessarily blamed for this corruption, 53.5% of those interviewed believed that the government is doing little or nothing to combat the problem.  In an IVAD survey from February, 58,8% also declared that they believe the country is better off today because of the Chavez administration and just over the majority held the opinion that if Chavez is reelected, the general situation in the country will also improve.  

Luis Christiansen, President of Consultores 21, a 22 year-old Venezuelan polling company, verified the credible record of its competitor IVAD, but declared, “honestly, we have not encountered statistics with greater than 80% support for Hugo Chavez since just after his election in ’99.”

Results from the latest Consultores 21 poll, held January 27 to February 7, where 20,000 habitants from across the country were interviewed, are fairly modest in comparison with the latest IVAD results.  Approximately 62% of those surveyed were favorable of the job done by the President, while approximately 38% where not.  Additionally, 49.1% of those surveyed were in favor of the reelection of President Chavez against any other opposition candidate.  

According to Christiansen, the disparity between polling results can be attributed to the questions and indicators used by various polling agencies.

“In Venezuela, you have to be clear about which question you are asking.  If the question is, who is in support of President Chavez, it’s about half [of the population].  But if the question is bipolar- whether you support either Chavez or the Opposition- Chavez is king, by 2 to 1.” 

“Right now we hear a lot about how Chavez has the support of the great majority of the country.  It’s true that he has a lot of people behind him. It’s not absolute, but it is a lot more than anyone else,” said Christiansen.