Brutal Poll Numbers Provide Context for Venezuela Dialogue

David Smilde

This week Venezuela’s leading polling firm Datanálisis released numbers showing a sustained slide in support for President Nicolas Maduro and Chavismo more broadly. The numbers likely explain the government’s apparent willingness to dialogue with the opposition over the past month. The closed door dialogues have yet to bear important agreements. But insiders report they are going well.

Maduro’s popularity has dropped in every measurement since November 2013 and at 37% is at the lowest it has been during his presidency. This is accompanied by a 59.2% disapproval. Nevertheless Maduro still has strong support among those who identify with the government and is still the most popular leader within chavismo.

For the first time since October, Henrique Capriles has higher numbers than Nicolas Maduro. Leopoldo López has practically identical numbers to Capriles. However, when asked “who should be the leader of the opposition and shown the names of leaders “none of the above” gets the most votes (28.4%). Opposition coalition Mesa de la Unidad Democratica has slightly better numbers than the Socialist Party. Identification with the latter has declined steadily since 2012.

At 79.5% pessimism regarding the direction of the country is at the highest it has been in 10 years, including 50% of oficialismo. The number one problem now is scarcities with 32.5%, surpassing crime and violence. Two thirds do not think the government can solve the problems the country is facing in the next 12 months. 74% see the political situation as unstable. Incredibly, 59.1% (including 15% of government supporters) think Maduro should not complete his term (39% in 2014 (presumably by resigning), 20.1% through recall referendum in 2016).