Poll Shows Rising Satisfaction with Democracy in Venezuela

A new survey published on November 14, 2008 by the respected Chilean polling firm Latinobarómetro finds that Venezuela has the region’s highest rate of support for democracy as the best system of government, and the second highest rate of satisfaction with the actual functioning of democracy. Citizen satisfaction with democracy has risen by 14 percentage points since 1998, when President Chavez was elected for the first time.

According to the poll, Venezuela also has remarkable levels of support for democratic procedures such as voting, and also for democratic institutions including political parties, congress, and the judiciary. This portrait brings a level of detailed factual analysis to the political realities of Venezuela that is rarely seen in the media.

You can read the full survey in Spanish here.

New Poll Predicts PSUV Victory in Majority of States
A poll released on Tuesday by the Venezuelan firm Consultores 30.11 projects that the great majority of state governorships and mayoralties will be won by candidates of the PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) in regional elections this Sunday, November 23rd. Close races are expected to ensue in only three states: Sucre, Carabobo, and Zulia.

The poll finds that voting trends in the November 23rd elections closely resemble those present in the previous presidential election in December 2006, which President Chávez won with 62.84% support. Read our full press release and review the poll in detail here.

Mainstream Media Offers Doomsday Approach

News outlets suggest altogether different scenarios, emphasizing criticisms of the government. Many sources say the opposition will win one third of state governorships and forecast so-called ‘power grabs’ by President Chavez regardless of the outcome of the vote. These distortions can lead readers to believe that democracy in Venezuela is threatened. Read one of the most
reckless articles out today by Bloomberg here.

Even more disturbing is a PBS television special scheduled to air next week on Frontline just two days after Sunday’s elections. The ninety-minute program provides a bleak and unrealistic view of President Chavez and his administration by focusing almost exclusively on negative themes and stories.Watch the program.

The most egregious mistakes are outlined below and merit a response.

1. Frontline states that President Chavez resigned during the 2002, which is not true. The Venezuelan leader did not renounce his presidency, although he was held captive and threatened with a bombing of the presidential palace.

2. Frontline completely ignores the well known manipulation of the events of the 2002 coup by Venezuela’s private media, as well as its role in staging the coup.

3. Frontline asserts that Chavez used the enabling law to pass 12 laws that did not pass in a referendum on constitutional reforms. However, the 26 laws decreed on the last day of the enabling law are fundamentally different from those that faced referendum last December. All of them are in accordance with the constitution.

4. Frontline irresponsibly closes the program with the following quote: ‘Chavez barred hundreds of opposition candidates from running [in regional elections].’ Again, PBS gets it wrong – this law was not written nor approved by Chavez. It was made in the National Assembly in 2001 by opposition and government supporters alike, including the former political party of opposition Mayor Leopoldo López, Primero Justicia. The law enables administrative sanctions for a variety of corruption charges and allows politicians to finish their term in office.