Venezuela President Has 57% Support Ahead of Recall, New Poll Says

Yet another opinion poll, this time by North American Opinion Research, is predicting that President Chavez will win the upcoming recall referendum with support of 57% among registered voters

By Martin Sanchez - Venezuelanalysis.com
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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez salutes on of the graduates of his government's literacy campaign, Mision 
Robinson, during the celebration of the first anniversary of the program on July 2nd, 2004
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez salutes one of the graduates of his government's literacy campaign, Mision Robinson, during the celebration of the first anniversary of the program on July 2nd, 2004.
Source: Venpres

Caracas, Jul 3 (Venezuelanalysis.com).- Yet another opinion poll is predicting that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez would win the upcoming recall referendum on his rule to be held Aug 15th.

North American Opinion Research Inc announced yesterday in Caracas the results of a survey taken Jun 18-25, in which the South American leader obtained the support of 57% among registered voters, while 41% want to remove him. 2% remained undecided.

The polling company surveyed 2,612 registered voters in 24 states, concentrating in home interviews instead of phone calls and street encounters, according to company Operations Manager Carlos Sanchez, who made the announcement during a press conference on Friday July 2nd.

The survey also determined that President Chavez's party, Movimiento Quinta Republica (MVR - Fifth Republic Movement) has the widest acceptance among voters with 45%. Right-wing Primero Justicia (Justice First) came in second with 11% support, while the two oldest and former dominant parties Accion Democratica (AD) and COPEI, got 8 and 4 percent respectively. Twenty three percent of those surveyed claimed not to have any party preference.

When asked which political party they reject the most, 30% of those surveyed picked the MVR party, 26% choose AD, 8% COPEI, 6% Proyecto Venezuela, and 4% Primero Justicia. Twenty six percent remained undecided. AD, COPEI, Proyecto Venezuela, and Primero Justicia are opposition parties that are part of the anti-Chavez Coordinadora Democratica coalition.

An earlier poll taken by the same company on March of this year, gave Chavez only 46% of support which compared with the June findings shows an 11% increase in his acceptance.  Fifty one percent wanted to recall Chavez in the March poll.

Most polls favor Chavez

The North American Opinion Research poll coincides with several other recent ones that also predict Chavez's victory in the recall referendum.

Most polls favor Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for the upcoming recall referendum
Most polls favor Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for the upcoming recall referendum.
Graphic: Venezuelanalysis.com

A June 23rd poll conducted by Washington DC based polling company Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Inc., showed that 49% of Venezuela's registered voters would support President Chavez in the recall referendum vs. 44% who would vote to recall him.

A mid-June poll by Venezuelan polling company INDAGA shows that 55% of voters would vote against recalling President Chavez in the upcoming referendum versus 42% who would recall him.

Another June poll by Venezuelan firm DATOS, gave Chavez 51% of support for the recall referendum, against 39% who would vote against him.

In contrast, a survey conducted May 10 and May 19 by Venezuelan firm Datanalisis, found that 57.4% would vote against Chavez vs. 42.6% who support him. Another poll by Venezuelan firm Mercanalisis taken between May 20 and Jun 5 in five main cities, found that 54% would recall Chavez, while 33% would keep him. Both firms have given unfavorable numbers to Chavez in the past.

The Venezuelan mainstream media, which largely opposes the President, has given little or no coverage to polls that favor Chavez. Opposition leader Enrique Mendoza dismissed the North American Opinion Research and the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Inc. polls as "faked", in ispite of at least one of them conducted at the request of the opposition by media company 1BC.

Upward trend

Independently of their results, all polls show an upward trend favorable to Chavez, who has been accused by opponents of using extra revenue from higher oil prices to "buy votes" through the implementation of several social programs for the poor.

INDAGA polls show a sustained upward trend in Chavez's approval ratings after the coup d'etat of 2002
INDAGA polls show a sustained upward trend in Chavez's approval ratings after the coup d'etat of 2002.
Source: INDAGA

Government officials defend the social programs by saying the money invested there was previously enjoyed only by “the rich minority”. Polls showing widespread support for the government programs have prompted opposition leaders to come out in support of the programs promising to maintain them in an eventual post-Chavez government.

No lowering of guard

Government officials have said that although they are pleased with the results of the polls, they remain focused on efforts to win the referendum. “We have known about these favorable polls for a while, and have even better numbers when surveying at poor neighborhoods ignored by most polling companies, but we are not relaxing our efforts to obtain victory” said a Chavez campaign official who wanted to remain anonymous.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez addresses graduates of his government's literacy campaign, Mision Robinson, during the celebration of the first anniversary of the program on July 2nd, 2004
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez addresses graduates of his government's literacy campaign, Mision Robinson, during the celebration of the first anniversary of the program on July 2nd, 2004.
Source: Venpres

Vice-President Jose Vicente Rangel called Chavez supporters to “organize to defend our victory out in the streets.”

Chavez's campaign organizers have implemented voter registration drives mostly in poor neighborhoods where Chavez has the most support. Pro-Chavez voting drives in upper-class neighborhoods have met with protests and attacks by opponents. The poor have the highest abstention rate of Venezuela's social classes. The government has also facilitated the issuing and renewal of national ID cards, a process that has been traditionally complicated and time consuming. The national picture ID card is required for voting.

In order for Chavez to be recalled, his opponents must get more than the 3.8 million votes Chavez received in the 2000 election. Additionally, the number of votes obtained by the opposition during the referendum must surpass those cast by Chavez supporters.

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