Foreign Policy Blogs

Poll Numbers Drop: Reading the Tea Leaves for Chavez

In February, President Hugo Chávez won a referendum allowing him (and any other public official) to be re-elected indefinitely. A total of 54% of the electorate supported this option, but did this represent a recent peak in the Venezuelan President’s popularity?

Over recent months Chávez provoked a diplomatic row with Colombia and sent troops to the border, while annual inflation continues at 27%, and electricity and water outages frustrate the population nationwide.

Last month a poll by the firm Datanalisis found that support for Chávez dipped to 52.8%, from 61% earlier in the year. It appears that complaints about the President and his administration are mounting.

One has to wonder if the Venezuelan president is at risk of losing his re-election bid, and if the decline in support is deeper and more permanent. There is plenty of time, however, for circumstances to change between now and 2012.

There remains no clear or united opposition figure to mount a campaign against the current administration. In the meantime, should oil prices continue to rise (they are back near $80/barrel) as the world crawls out of the economic recession, the government can continue funding its popular social programs, and salvage its popularity once again.

Please refer to an AP story presented at for further information.



David D. Sussman

David D. Sussman is currently a PhD Candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University), in Boston, Massachusetts. Serving as a fellow at the Feinstein International Center, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study the lives of Colombian refugees and economic migrants in Caracas, Venezuela. David has worked on a variety of migrant issues that include the health of displaced persons, domestic resettlement of refugees, and structured labor-migration programs. He holds a Masters in International Relations from the Fletcher School, where he studied the integration of Somali and Salvadoran immigrants. David has a B.A. from Dartmouth College and is fluent in Spanish. He has lived in Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Venezuela, and also traveled throughout Latin America. In his free time David enjoys reading up on international news, playing soccer, cooking arepas, and dancing salsa casino. Areas of Focus: Latin America; Migration; Venezuela.