New Poll Reveals Majority Support for Socialism in Venezuela

A January study by polling firm International Consulting Services (ICS) has shown that 53% of Venezuelans think that the kind of socialism promoted by the current president Hugo Chavez is a political and economic system that guarantees the development of the country. Meanwhile, the same polling organisation found if the 7 October presidential elections were held tomorrow Chavez would be re-elected with 58.2% of the vote.


Juan Scorza, director of ICS, said in a television interview that “the belief that this is a positive system for the country has been reinforced,” and pointed out that only 21% believe that capitalism is the system that would guarantee development for the country.

“Between socialism and capitalism, it is clear Venezuelans prefer socialism,” he stated. With regard to social programs, or missions, Venezuelans gave a positive appraisal of 80%.

“This concept of socialism is that all recent [government] measures, like the Law on Fair Costs and Prices, new missions, and protection to workers are creating an environment in which there is collective benefit and that’s how people perceive it,” he said.

As for problems, the director highlighted that 52.9% of Venezuelans see insecurity as the main problem in the country, followed by corruption and inflation.

“Nonetheless, [the perception of] insecurity as a problem has fallen in intensity. In October, it was at 60.2%,” he added.

Presidential Election Predictions

According to a another survey held by the ICS on 13 and 14 February this week with 1200 respondants in cities throughout the country, if the presidential elections were held today in Venezuela, 58.2 percent of citizens would vote for the reelection of Hugo Chávez, as opposed to 34.5 percent for the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski.

Scorza commented that, by extensión, 48.3 percent would not vote for Radonski, the candidate of the Democratic Unity Table (MUD).

The ICS director added that if the current administration continues with its policies, which earned high approval ratings from last November through January, it is on track to emerge victorious in the presidential elections on October 7, 2012.

The survey, which had a total of 1,200 respondents, also asked about the performance of the National Electoral Council of Venezuela during the opposition primaries on February 12. It found that 94.1 percent of Venezuelans deemed the CNE’s work excellent, good or fine, while just 3.1 percent viewed it negatively.

“Venezuelans overwhelmingly applaud the CNE’s performance, and that is something very significant in terms of democracy,” Scorza said.

Meanwhile, 94.1 percent also approved of the role of the Bolivarian Armed Forces in assisting with security during the primary elections.

Scorza said that with the opposition primaries over, the presidential race is now becoming more ideological, emotional, and passion-oriented.

“The contest is going to involve a lot of ideological and programmatic debate, more so than reactive debate, because the high preference for socialism among the Venezuelan population coincides with what President Chávez preaches,” he said.

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