Poll Numbers Suggest Venezuelan Government Is In Big Trouble

March 17, 2014


A lot of people argue that these protests are too early. That the barrios are not participating. That the people still support the Government widely and many other such arguments. While there is evidence to counteract each of these claims, I think they try to oversimplify the problem. In the end, the “barrios” are not where the opposition is weak, it is in the very rural states, where the people have a very high dependence on the Government. These are the true Chavista strongholds, where the media is fully dominated by the Government and the opposition gets less than 40% of the vote in any given election. In the barrios of the big cities, the 2013 Presidential elections tended to be closer, with the opposition scoring wins in many.

At the same time, anyone that has talked to the students in these protests, can see that they come from all over the place. In fact, in my conversations in Plaza Altamira when I was there three weeks ago, I found a very large fraction (I would say one out of every two) of the students came from poor neighborhoods.

But the argument continues from the Cassandras that see Chavismo as impossible to dislodge, too popular and too ingrained in the Venezuelan population.

This, of course, goes against logic: Maduro barely squeaked by a year ago (if he did, which I am still not sure happened) and since he took over, inflation has doubled and scarcity has gone up by almost a factor of three (Datanalisis says it is at 47.7%). I just don’t think people are that insensitive to their problems.

And yes, Maduro did recover for the regional elections thanks to the Cadakazo, but conditions have worsened significantly since.

But we (and the Government!) all should take notice of the latest poll by Datos, a well respected polling firm, a copy of which someone sent me and which shows that the Government’s approval, popularity and acceptance has deteriorated dramatically. In fact, I would even say it has deteriorated more than I expected and in some aspects, the result surprise me.

Let’s start with the basics. According to the poll, 43.7% consider themselves to be opposition, while only 27.1% consider themselves to be pro-Government. In the lowest strata of the population, Class E, 36.4% of the people see themselves as pro-opposition, while it is only 32.5% who consider themselves to be pro-Government. (The same number is 62.4% and 18.2% in classes A,B and C). So much for the opposition not resonating or penetrating in the poorer strata of the population.

When people are asked if they things as being fine or not, basically the hard core pro-Government 27.2% of those asked, say things are fine (Define as being well, or more or less well), while 72% think hings are going bad or not very well.

Enough to make any Government nervous…

But where things really get surprising in my opinion, is on questions that should make Maduro and his cronies truly nervous. Like 46.4% of the people think Venezuela is a Dictatorship, while only 42.5% think it is a democracy, for example.

Or that 50.4% think Maduro is doing a negative job, 23.6% think it is positive and 21.3% think it is neither positive nor negative.

And if this were not enough to make any Government official very nervous, 66.1% of the people think dollar scarcity is the Government’s fault, while only 3.1% of those polled think it is the private sectors fault. And 53% of the people think scarcity is Maduro’s fault, while only 14.4% think it is the private sector’s fault. And 51% blame the Government for inflation, while only 8.6% thinking it is the private sector’s fault. Amazingly, despite these numbers, 46.5% still think the Government can solve the country’s problems, while 47.1%, don’t think so.

Finally, 61% of those polled think that the Government’s reactions to the protests has been disproportionate and a mistake, while only 29.5%think it has been correct or adequate. Moreover, when it comes to how many people think the Government has to rectify its policies, 87% of those polled think they have to.

To me, these numbers say the Government is in real trouble. They show that Chavismo sin Chávez is a flimsy proposition. If these were the numbers up to March 2nd. , I suspect they are much worse now and what the Government has been doing goes counter to what those polled suggest. Polls are inaccurate, but I saw Datos’ polls before the Cadakazo and afterwards and I can assure you they gauged well what happened.

If I were the Maduro Government, this poll would make me very nervous indeed!

55 Responses to “Poll Numbers Suggest Venezuelan Government Is In Big Trouble”

  1. Auuuuuvienelobo Says:

    Wow wow

  2. Auuuuuvienelobo Says:

    I Oil! its no A e

  3. Livefree Says:

    OT: interesting Bloomberg article…Cuba gets $8bn for its doctors annually..of which most comes from Venezuela. Wonder what Venezuela’s share of that is?


    If that isn’t enough to make people gag, wonder what is.

  4. Ira Says:

    Miguel, with all due respect, I think you need a real vacation.

    You have to go somewhere. ANYWHERE. And not blog about VZ for at least 2 months, to clear your mind.

    After all we’ve been through, and after all we’ve witnessed over the past 15 years, do you really think that any poll results make a shit-fuck of difference?

    • moctavio Says:

      I dont know if we will ever get rid of Chavismo, but we need their popularity to be below where it is to get rid of them. With close to 50% forget it.

      • m_astera Says:

        I saw a line of at least 100 people waiting outside a tiny pharmacy today. There were uniformed Guardia Nacional soldiers at the entrance, letting in one person at a time. What were the people in line for? Disposable baby diapers. Yesterday a friend told me she saw over 100 people lined up to buy tires at the Firestone store. This will get old very quickly, and as quickly as “chavistas” get tired of the shortages they will drop their support for the government.

        • Ronaldo Says:

          Okay, but the Chavistas will just promise them a 1 in 10,000 chance for a new apartment, new washer, and a new whatever. Then they will return to support the Chavistas again. Look at the Dec elections and the looting of electronics stores.

        • m_astera Says:

          In the past the government delivered on some promises; those are getting fewer and fewer. I saw another long line for diapers today, this one inside the Sambil mall on Margarita.

          I have referred elsewhere to the looting of the electronics stores, and how I haven’t seen a computer for sale since. Most likely a tactic directly ordered from Cuba, where the geriatric sociopaths are desperately dreaming of their communist empire still. How pathetic, that Venezuela should be in these straits largely due to the egos of such shallow losers.

          However, I predict that the shallowness and material goods fixation of the Venezuelan people will eventually be their salvation.

  5. firepigette Says:

    I do not under any circumstances believe those polls because I know too many people in Venezuela to know that Chavismo has much less.

    In any case….when you are considering circumstances you cannot assign a fixed value to any number.

    2 and 2 = 4 when values are equal…but 2 and 2 and two can make 5 for the greater values of the 2….and 2 and 2 can make 3 for the unequal values of the 2.

    The power of 2 Chavistas under these circumstances are far greater than the power of 2 oppos in the same circumstances

    Because Venezuela is not a Democracy polls are meaningless.

  6. Cpc Says:

    Maybe I’m looking at the glass-half-empty side of this poll, but if 46.5% still believe Maduro can solve the country’s problems and only 50.4% think he is doing a bad job, there sure is a lot more pain coming our way

  7. CAB Says:

    Great article thank you! How do I read the original Datos poll? Very interesting.

  8. Auuuuuvienelobo Says:

    donde estas tu?, no es pregunta es empuje!

  9. Auuuuuvienelobo Says:

    Una cicatriz juega con un tatoo!

  10. Auuuuuvienelobo Says:


  11. Auuuuuvienelobo Says:

    Please pass along that those with scar in venezuela post pictures in twitter


    Let the world see the scars!

    que rueden…

  12. firepigette Says:

    The Only way I can envision the possibility of the collapse of the government is if the opposition protests keep up , and grow stronger and stronger and some of the army starts helping the opposition…but recently Maduro just fired some of them he wasn’t sure about so this is difficult, yet still possible.

    I agree with M Astera, the Ven population is extremely consumerist and as things get worse they will rise up, more and more.

    I personally find the lack of information and freedom and the crime situation far worse than the lack of toilet paper or harina pan.I could easily work around the lack of products.But that’s just me.

    It will never get better, until it gets worse and the people hit bottom, what the bottom is for them.

  13. Kepler, these guys are pros.

  14. Kepler Says:

    Phone interview? Did they use fixed lines? Because if they did, the poll is definitely not representative. I would venture to say only a minority of people in Southern Valencia and in Los Guayos, for instance, have fixed lines.
    All the people I know well in those areas have fixed lines but all of them live in the core of those areas for a much longer period of time than the majority, who just built their shanty towns around.

  15. VJ Says:

    Today, students from USB close La Trinidad tunnels in Caracas.

    • Kepler Says:

      That’s the best way they have to piss off a lot of people.
      They really even test, TEST, that’s the word TEST the patience of opposition people, not not talk about the others.

  16. m_astera Says:

    I’m seeing a few formerly thriving computer stores now out of business, and the ones that are still open haven’t had any new stock since Maduro’s fire sale. I’m also seeing more and more stores of all kinds consolidating their shrinking stock onto fewer shelves, leaving areas of the store completely empty. And finally, I’m seeing fewer people with money to spend on the remaining goods.

    Venezuela is the most ‘consumerist’ society I have known, and I grew up in the USA. No way are the people going to tolerate empty stores and no money for long.

    • Alexis Says:

      For a consumerist society, they have tolerated a lack of milk and toilet paper for years, and I think that’s far more serious than a lack of computers. Until recently, they sure seemed very conformist and resigned!

      When I stayed in Merida, I had to send a taxi to Colombia (5 hours drive) to fill the trunk with toilet paper and other basic goods..

    • m_astera Says:

      People work in those computer stores and hardware stores and clothing stores that are closing for lack of stock and customers. No work, no paycheck to spend. Price inflation of everything that isn’t price-controlled eats up any discretionary income. The workers I’m talking about don’t have the option of paying a taxi to drive 5 hours to get them toilet paper.

  17. Chama Says:

    Note of caution:

    This is a telephone poll…traditionally, the most reliable surveys in Venezuela have been fielded door-to-door…because telephone polls tend to undercount Class E supporters (and therefore skew in favor of opposition).

    And point for perspective:

    Maduro’s approval ratings are not good…but many, many presidents and heads of state are currently struggling with numbers in the same zone.

    These are not the kind of numbers that make armed forces and neighbors and other powers-that-be believe that resignation or removal is or should be imminent.

  18. xp Says:

    Asimismo enfatizó que
    “los canadienses continuarán viniendo
    a Venezuela,
    este es un país sumamente seguro”.

    18 mar 2014.- El ministro para el Transporte Acuático y Aéreo, Hebert García Plaza,

  19. Dean A Nash Says:

    Hi Miguel,

    The Cubans are leaving (letting go) until you pry their dead hands off of their weapons. It’s no longer about “Chavismo” (if it ever was.) Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I spent the first 30 years of my life in Miami listening to honorable and decent Cuban refugees assure everyone that Castro would be gone “soon”. He’s still there.

    • Dean A Nash Says:

      It’s obviously The Cubans aren’t leaving…

      • moctavio Says:

        Dean: First, Chavez is dead, second, days like yesterday show that people are not going to take it.

        • Marc Says:

          And last, but foremost: VENEZUELA IS NOT CUBA!

        • Dean A Nash Says:

          I hope you’re right and I’m wrong. But from everything I’ve ever seen or heard, it all points to what I wrote. Venezuela is Cuba’s lifeline – her oxygen. How would you respond if your oxygen were at risk?

          In fact, Venezuela’s is, which makes for a classically tragic battle ahead. The loser will have to die, barring unforeseen developments, such as a war (anywhere) that would cause oil to spike. Even that would only delay the inevitable.

          If war is inevitable, then why not get it over with now? Why prolong the suffering?

          • firepigette Says:

            If they had been a lot more astute, they could have seen the light many years ago, when it would have been so much easier than it is now.I seems as if the opposition is conveniently always way behind the times

            • Dean A Nash Says:

              It would have taken great fortitude to do what had to be done – what still must be done. It will take a hero. By definition, heroes sacrifice their own best interests for the good of others. True Leaders are heroes. I’d love to think that I would rise to the test, and yet, my own country is also heading down an insidious road and I’m not willing to sacrifice to stop it. So I won’t fault the Venezuelans for their shortcomings.

  20. Bruni Says:

    Miguel, I am not that optimistic looking at those numbers. What they say is that people are still willing to give the government a chance (almost half the people STILL think the government can solve the country’s problem!!!!). After all Venezuela has been through? That is truly amazing and that shows that we, as opposition have not yet convinced half of Venezuela.

    This means that in the worst possible situation one could imagine, the government still has the benefit of the doubt from half the population. IMHO this is terrible news because it means that if the situation improves just a little bit, the government support will come back.

    • m_astera Says:

      The situation could improve a little bit, but not for long. Venezuela imports let’s say 70% of its food and 90% of the manufactured goods and replacement parts. The suppliers have not been paid, the money to pay them has been stolen, and no one in their right mind would loan the government any more money. As Miguel said, wait until May.

      I predict that what will bring the country to a grinding halt is a lack of motor oil.

    • Roy Says:

      Bruni, I think there may be a subtle difference between “the government” and “this government”. I think we would need to see exactly how the question was framed.

      • moctavio Says:

        Bruni, when the opposition has more support than the Government in Class E, when the worst is yet to come, I can only be optimistic and happy.

      • Noel Says:

        I agree with Roy, when they talk of the government they do not mean Maduro’s. Take the French, a vast majority of them think that president Hollande has been dreadful, yet they are not calling for the private sector to step in and solve the country’s problems, they are calling on his predecessor or somebody else to save them. It is a cultural thing: Latin or Gallic societies like strong governments and expect a lot from them.

  21. firepigette Says:

    Maduro’s government is as strong as it is backed up and supported by other thug governments and world wide Narcs.

    And this is true even if nobody actually likes the government.If the people are not willing to fight back, the government will remain strong, though unpopular.

  22. OyiaBrown Says:

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

  23. xp Says:

    The EEEKKad’s busted,
    the egg’s cracked all
    over Neverentes’ face.
    Hunter gatherer #1
    is on the loose.
    No mirar flores for
    him! Invade Polar’s
    container plant –
    Grab planes on ground
    especially their prepared
    meals, the toilet paper
    the oxygen masks.
    Pretty azafatas, sorry,
    auxiliares del vuelo.
    Keep them hostage for
    $ ransom. [Airliners still
    need brave souls to service
    the venezuelan flights].

    *hunter gatherer = looter pillo

    Re: La principal aerolínea canadiense, Air Canadá,

    suspendió sus operaciones en Venezuela a partir de este lunes y

    renovará[sic] sus vuelos a Caracas “hasta nuevo aviso”.

  24. VJ Says:

    Another important fact to consider is the Datos poll finished its data collection on feb. 2nd, some days before the protest began.
    It will be interesting to see what the numbers show after 6 weeks of continue massive protests.

  25. xp Says:

    I’m thinking …
    Carmen Teresa Meléndez Rivas,
    [ quien nació en Barinas 3 ’61 ]
    couldn’t give a maduro …
    poll or no poll …
    She answers to higher authorities.
    and it’s not god.

  26. glenn Says:

    The poll results along with Daniels great analysis and this link from CC makes for great reading today. Not looking good for Maduro’ future at all.


  27. Luis Says:

    “Amazingly, despite these numbers, 46.5% still think the Government can solve the country’s problems, while 47.1%, don’t think so” With some nice commercials and cadenas they can increase there numbers, I am still very pessimistic

  28. elisabet@prodigy.net.mx Says:

    This Elisabet Sabartés, journalist, late Eric Ekvall’s partner. I’m in Caracas and would like to meet you, if possible. My cell here is 04242907406. You can call me anytime or send me your number. Thanks four your attention.

    Enviado desde mi BlackBerry de Movistar

  29. Reblogged this on danmillerinpanama and commented:
    The Maduro regime is becoming increasingly unpopular, as shown by the statistical data presented at The Devil’s Excrement. It’s all quite encouraging.

    As noted here by Daniel, the highly visible — and deeply resented –Cuban presence, particularly the Cuban military presence, is producing not only increased dislike of the Maduro regime but also increased feelings of patriotism.

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