Mérida, March 1st 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) 82% of Venezuelans say they are “happy”, according to the latest polls by Social Investigation Group XXI (GIS). The study, which also examined Venezuelans’ values in relation to gender difference, geographic mobility, community and participation, work, and religion aimed to examine the relationships between politics, culture, and social values in Venezuela.
Personal Satisfaction and Social Perception of Happiness
According to the GIS study, titled, “Tastes and Desires of the Venezuelan Population: A Study of the Sociology of Preferences”, on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is very happy, 82% of respondents said they were very happy or happy with an answer of 7 to 10. 13% responded with 5-6, and 4% between 4 and 1.
Responding to the question, “We have all done things in our lives that make us feel proud, thinking about the things that you have done throughout your life, which things make you especially proud?”, 44% responded “my children”, 15% “academic achievement” and 11% “other”.
In terms of what would make respondents feel proud of their children, if they have them or hypothetically, 44% said “academic success”, 25% said “that they are a good person who makes others happy”, and only 7% said “economic success”.
After “other aspects of life”, lack of material well being, and unemployment ranked the highest (with 17% and 14% respectively) for people’s perception of what makes other people most unhappy. After that were “insecurity”, “family problems”, and “physical illness” at 9%, 8%, and 7%, respectively.
95% of respondents said that they would provide economic help to their family if they were “able to” - the response with the highest percentage of “yes” responses. Other things people would do “if able to” were; set up their own business or company (88%), study more or start studying (78%), donate to the church (74%), buy a car (69%), provide financial assistance to a project (64%), travel overseas (62%), dress in brand name clothing (36%), “improve” an aspect of their body (34%), and stop working (12%) altogether.
Geographic Mobility: the Reality and Aspirations
42% of respondents had moved at some point in their lives. Of those, 55% had moved just once, and only 7% had moved more than five times.
The main reasons nominated by respondents for moving were, first, for study (53%), then work (34%), then for reasons of security (31%), then family reasons (21%), and “to have more opportunities” (15%).
When told to imagine that they could take vacations anywhere, 71% of respondents selected a tourist location within Venezuela. Of the total answers, 27% said they would like to travel to the famous Margarita Island, or Los Roques, and 14% selected the Andean city of Merida, while just 3% said they would stay in their current location.
Those who said they would travel overseas, after “other”, the highest response, with 5%, was a city in the United States, and other that, Europe.
67% of respondents said that yes, there are “important differences between the character of men and women”.
In terms of what Venezuelans believe are the “typical characteristics of men that differentiate them from women,” “other” was the most common response, with 29%, then “they are physically stronger” at 21%, “they are more violent” with 11% and “they are more impulsive” at 8%.
The same question, applied to perceptions of women, “other” was also the most popular answer (19%), then “they are more responsible in the family” at 14%, and “they are more affectionate” at 13%.
On the issue of equality in the home and family life, 57% of respondents believed that men and women have equal rights, and 33% believed that women have more rights. 8% believed that men have more rights in the home. The genders switched when asked about obligations, with 28% believing men have more obligations in the home, 25% saying women have more obligations, and 46% saying it was equal.
Regarding rights at work, 62% believe there are equal rights, and 30% thought men have more rights, while 6% thought women have more rights. The figures were similar for obligations in the workplace; with 32% believing men have more obligations and 9% believing women have more.
Most Venezuelans, if they had to work under the leadership of another person, would rather work under a man, although the percentages were close, with 37% preferring to work under a man, 33% not minding, and 28% preferring a woman. The percentages were similarly close when respondents hypothetically had to choose a gender to hire, with 31% saying they did not mind, 28% choosing men, and 27.5% choosing women.
Finally, in this section, respondents had to say if certain situations were blameworthy. The most reprehensible situation, in terms of respondents answering “yes its blameworthy” is a 17-year-old deciding to abort, at 73%. 70% felt the same of violence between couples, 69% thought a man “living off the labour of his wife” was reprehensible, while only 22% thought it was a problem if a woman lives off the labour of her husband.
56% thought it wrong that a woman abandon her husband and children if he is beating her, while just 26% thought it was wrong for a man to leave his wife and children if his wife was beating him. Of the 56%, more were men, and more came from the poorer economic classes. 53% thought sexual relations between the same gender were wrong.
Community and Participation: Motivations and Desires
Why people participate in community activities, the survey asked. 61% said people’s main motivations were to improve the conditions of life of the people living in the community, while14% said it was for personal benefit or for the benefit of their family.
In response to the question, “Do you think that participating in community activities, in general, is something that benefits or is detrimental to those participating?”, 84% said they thought it was a benefit.
In terms of what reasons respondents thought people have for not participating in community activities, after “other” with 23%, the highest was “because the people who do participate are a closed group who don’t want others to enter it” with 21% and then “because there’s no point, nothing is achieved” with 19%. “Lack of time” was next, at 13%.
Work and Social Mobility
If Venezuelans had enough money to leave their jobs or choose to change, 78% would still work in what they do, 12% would change jobs, and 9% would stop working.
Next, respondents had to imagine that they were the head of a company with a lot of money and many workers. 66% said yes, they would respect maternity leave, 49% said yes, they would give work to their family and friends who needed it, and 48% said they would buy a new car.
79% of respondents, if they were unemployed and in a situation of grave difficulty, would ask a relative to find them work for the government.
71% of Venezuelans categorise themselves as Catholic, 17% as Evangelical or another type of Christianity, 6% as agnostic, 2% as another religion, and 2% as atheist.
However, in terms of specific beliefs, 48% said they did not believe in the Pope, 46% don’t believe in hell, 37% don’t believe in resurrection, 11% said they didn’t believe in heaven, 6% didn’t believe in the bible, and 3% didn’t believe in Jesus Christ.
The GIS study was based on 2500 interviews distributed proportionally across the country, with a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, and was carried out from 26 January to 2 February this year.
50.2% of interviewees were women, and there was a fair distribution across the different age groups and economic classes.
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.