Venezuela: Maduro’s popularity increases, opposition expected to make gains in regional elections

October 13, 2017
Venezuelans will vote for state governors on October 15.

The approval ratings of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro rose to 23.2% at the end of September, according to a new poll conducted by private centre-right think tank Datanalisis. 

The increase in the head of state’s popularity comes just weeks ahead of regional elections scheduled for October 15, when Venezuelans will choose their state governors for the next four years. 

Political observers have speculated that the bump, which represents a 5.8% increase from July, can be attributed to the population’s perception of an improvement in their economic situation and their rejection of US economic sanctions approved against Venezuela by the US in August.

The national government’s ability to bring an end to four months of violent protest between April and July is also believed to have played a part. 

Venezuelan website Supuesto Negado estimates that the latest popularity ratings could mean that the president has a loyal base of between 3.3-3.7 million voters.

Nonetheless, the economic research organisation Torino Capital has estimated that the opposition will still make big wins on October 15, potentially taking eighteen of Venezuela’s twenty-three state governorships. 

Meanwhile, Felix Velasquez, an adviser for the National Constituent Assembly, has speculated that the government will win thirteen state governorships in the upcoming elections and that abstention will be high. 

Maduro’s popularity has taken a nose-dive in recent years, mostly due to a severe three-year-long economic crisis and his failure to tackle corruption in the public sector. 

[Reprinted from Venezuela Analysis.]

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