Caracas, Venezuela, October 23, 2006 —Several new opinion polls have been publicized recently, all of which show Venezuela’s President Chavez with a clear lead over his nearest challenger, Zulia State Governor Manuel Rosales, for the December 3rd presidential election. The polls, conducted by IVAD and Consultores 21, show Chavez leading by between 17 and 31 percentage points.
The poll conducted by the Venezuelan Institute of Analysis and Data (IVAD) on October 1, 2006, fund that 49.4% of Venezuelans would vote for Chavez and 18.3% would vote for Rosales, with the rest (31.6%) still undecided. The third main candidate, Benjamin Rausseo, would receive only 0.7% of the vote. The poll was conducted via 1,400 face-to-face interviews in all of Venezuela.
In contrast, the Consultores 21 poll, which was conducted in the third week of September, finds that 50.3% would vote for Chavez and 32.9% would vote for Rosales, giving Chavez a lead of 17.4 points.
If, however, Venezuelans are asked to choose only between Chavez and Rosales, the IVAD poll gives Chavez 55.3% to Rosales’s 26.3%, while according to Consultores 21, Chavez leads with 54.7% to Rosales’s 34.8%. In other words, both polls agree that Chavez’s support hovers around 55%, while the remaining percent are divided to varying degrees between Rosales supporters and undecideds.
A timeline of IVAD polls shows that Chavez’s support has slightly weakened in the past two months, from a high of 61.3% in August to 55.3% in October. Similarly, Rosales’s support has increased in that time, from 20.8% to 26.3%, suggesting that Rosales might be making a dent in Chavez’s formidable lead.
In terms of voter participation and abstention, the polls indicate that between 62 and 67% say that they would “definitely vote” in the presidential elections, according to IVAD. The Consultores 21 poll provides a far higher participation figure, of 85.7%. The difference can be traced to the fact that the Consultores poll gives only “yes” and “no” as options, while the IVAD poll gave people four options, in terms of how likely they would vote, from “definitely yes” to “definitely no.”
Consultores 21 also asked about how Venezuelans feel about their personal situation and that of the country. Back in June 2004, two months before the recall referendum against Chavez, the response that their personal situation is “good” had a score of +49, the response that the country is “good” had a response of +40, and the response that the country is in a better situation now (June 2004) than it was a year earlier had a score of +39. For September 2006, the positive responses were much stronger, with +61 for good personal situation, +56 the country being in a good situation, and +55 for the country being better off now than a year earlier.
Other lesser-known polling companies, commissioned by the Chavez camp, such as Consultores 3011 and Cifras Escenarios, reflected slightly higher percentages in support of Chavez. According to Consultores 3011 Chavez enjoys the support of 60% of Venezuelans. Similarly, Cifras Escenarios says 61.4% intend to vote for Chavez, compared to 24% who say they intend to vote for Rosales.