Poll Finds 80% of Venezuelans Value President Chavez's Response to Flood Emergency

Support for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s response to the flood emergency is very high, and his general support has increased slightly. However, Venezuelan’s perception of the current state of the country’s economy is quite low, according to the latest polls by the Social Investigation Group XXI (GIS).

By Tamara Pearson – Venezuelanalysis.com
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Change in opinon of President Chavez's management from 2008 to 2010. Red represents very good/good, green represents neither, and blue represents bad or very bad (GIS).
Change in opinon of President Chavez's management from 2008 to 2010. Red represents very good/good, green represents neither, and blue represents bad or very bad (GIS).

Mérida, February 1st 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Support for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s response to the flood emergency is very high, and his general support has increased slightly. However, Venezuelan’s perception of the current state of the country’s economy is quite low, according to the latest polls by the Social Investigation Group XXI (GIS).

The GIS investigation, titled “Barometer of management and political situation”, was based on 2500 interviews distributed proportionally according to voter numbers across all of Venezuela’s 24 states. It was conducted from 14 to 22 January 2011. According to the GIS report of the results, the margin of error is +/-2%.

Perception of the Political Situation, the National Assembly, and Political Leaders

According to the investigation, 31.8% of respondents feel the political situation of the country is very good or good, 27.0% feel it is regular, and 39.2% feel it is bad or very bad.

49.3% however believe the political situation of Venezuela will get much better, or better, and 27.7% believe it will get worse or much worse over the next year. The rest either did not respond or felt it would not change.

When asked to rank the “three main problems in the country”, 72.7% of respondents selected insecurity or crime, 37.0% selected unemployment, 28.1% selected inflation or cost of living, 21.1% selected housing, 11.9% selected medical attention, and 10.4% selected roads and highways.

The GIS report observed that crime and insecurity has been perceived as the main problem for a long time, but that since August 2010 the number of people selecting it has dropped 4%.

Few Venezuelans feel that the new composition of the national assembly, with an increased number of opposition legislators following elections in September last year, will change the political situation of the country. 29.2% said that nothing will change, 24.4% said the new composition would change the political situation “a lot”, 22.4% said it would change it “a little” and 15.1% said it would change it “quite a lot”.

A significant 78.2% felt the change, was “for the better”, and only 4.2% felt it was for the worse.

When asked about the general performance of President Hugo Chavez over the last year, 54% of respondents said it was very good or good, 21.4% said it was regular, and 21.8% said it was bad or very bad. According to GIS, that approval percentage is up 1.6% from October last year.

On the performance of the opposition over the last year, 25.4% said it was good or very good, 27.6% that it was regular, and 39.2% thought it was bad or very bad.

Perception of the Economy

In response to the question, “Would you say that, in general, the economic situation of the country is very good, good, bad, or very bad?” 41.7% described it as bad or very bad, 36.1% as regular, and 21.6% described it as very good or good.

However, as to the public’s perception of how much the economic situation has improved over the last year, 43.5% said it is much better or better, 30.8% said it is much worse or worse, and the rest either thought it had not changed or preferred not to respond.

Finally, the public has high hopes for the future, with 67.8% believing the economic situation will be better or much better this year, and 13.2% believing it will be worse, or much worse.

Response to Severe Flooding

In November and December last year, Venezuela was victim to the heaviest rains in over 40 years, causing many landslides, road closures, bridge collapses, dozens of deaths and over 100,000 homeless. 29.2% of respondents said they had at least one relative who had been affected by the rains.

When asked about who or what was “responsible for the emergency situation produced by the rains”, 64% said “the rain, the weather, you can’t blame anyone”, 16.6% said it was President Hugo Chavez or his party’s fault, 5.4% blamed the “lack of caution of the people”, and the rest chose other options.

As to who has the responsibility to resolve the situation, “independent of you who or what you believe is responsible”, 40.3% said President Chavez is responsible, 38.3% said the ministries and other entities of the national government, 10.7% said the governors and mayors, 4.0% said “the people in general”, 0.8% said the victims themselves, and 0.3% said the communal councils.

Next, participants were asked to say how adequate the response to the emergency has been by certain key actors. 94.8% thought the response by civil protection bodies such as the fire fighters and the army was adequate or very adequate. 80.2% thought the same of Chavez’s response. After those two, 79.4% thought the same of the public media, 76.4% for the private media, 70.8% for the communal councils, and 65.2%for the church.

74.2% of respondents felt the treatment of the flood victims has been “very good or good” and 8.3% thought it has been “very bad or bad”.

When asked how much they are in agreement with taking over certain spaces to accommodate those left homeless, 85.6% of those polled were in agreement with using military installations, 77.0% were in agreement with using the presidential palace “Miraflores”, 73.4% with using hotels, and 62.0% with using schools.

Finally in this area, the poll asked, “The national government has committed to building housing, do you think it will comply with this commitment?” 59.0% said yes, and 26.8% said no. 6.3% selected “It will somewhat comply”.

50.2% of those surveyed were women, 25% were aged 18-29, 41% were aged 30-49 and 24% over 50.

GIS is widely regarded as allied to the Chavez government. Its results tend to slightly favour the Chavez government, but are never very inflated or far off, and its election result predictions are often the closest compared to other Venezuelan poll companies.

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