Sunday, June 25, 2006

Why they'll make their excuses and leave 

Although things have been a little bit quiet due to the World Cup soccer matches the December 3rd Presidential elections in Venezuela are drawing ever nearer. Unfortunately for those opposed to Chavez, new polling information gives them no cause for optomism. Polling results published in El Nacional from the right wing anti-Chavez pollsters, Datanalysis, shows that Chavez should easily coast to victory - as of May 59% of the people polled intended to vote for Chavez.

Of course, there is nothing new in this. Virtually all polls over the past couple of years have shown Chavez with very high approval ratings (generally over 70%) and with a large lead in the "voting intentions" category. So I try not to bore people just repeating all the polls. But the poll by Datanalisis was unique in that it broke down Chavez's support by social strata. Readers will recall that in Venezuela social strata are categorized by letters with A and B being the upper and upper middle classes, C being the lower middle class, D being the working class, and E being working class and poor. The vast majority of the Venezuelans are in classes D and E and, unsurprisingly, this is where most of Chavez's support is as the following chart based on the polling information shows:

Social ClassDescriptionPercent of PopulationConfident in ChavezNot Confident In ChavezDid not respond
ABUpper Classes


CLower middle Class15%43.8%49.5%6.7%
DWorking Class23%61.5%30.6%7.9%
EWorking Class/Poor58%73.0%22.2%4.8%
Total 100%   

Social ClassDescriptionPercent of PopulationPro-ChavezNeither pro nor anti ChavezAnti-ChavezDid not answer
ABUpper Classes


CLower middle Class15%30.8%19.7%41.3%8.1%
DWorking Class23%46.8%10.3%34.2%8.7%
EWorking Class/Poor58%55.8%8.4%29.2%6.9%

I have highlighted the two most important results. Amongst the well to do, social classes A and B, opposition to Chavez is quite strong with 66.7% saying they have no confidence in him. Amongst the lower middle class the opposition also has a majority albeit a small one with 49.5%. Also, note that it is amongst classes A and B that there is the highest rate of "did not answer". Maybe that is the oppositions constant propoganda regarding repression and blacklisting having the effect of scaring their own supporters.

But amongst the working classes and poor confidence in Chavez is overwhelming with 61.5% of social class D having confidence in him and 73% of the poorest Venezuelan's having confidence. Time and time again I have heard the opposition media and propagandists say that the notion that the opposition consists largely of upper class people while Chavez draws his support from the poor and working class is not true. That is a gross oversimplification they say. Yet this chart shows that the the notion that the poor support Chavez while the rich oppose him is completely correct. And of course, there are a lot more poor and working class people than there are upper class people which explains why Chavez will win any election easily.

The opposition, which refuses to accept Chavez's democratic credentials and legitimacy, blanch at the thought of him winning re-election by a large margin. So they will keep twisting and turning and looking for any reason to reject elections. Knowing they will lose, they prefer simply to make their excuses and leave. Unfortunately for them almost all the international press in Venezuela sees this for what it is - Chavez is wildly popular and the opposition boycotting elections is just its lame way to try to save face. They really don't fool anyone at this point.


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