Venezuela’s leading polling firm Datanalisis just released numbers from mid-June polling that show President Nicolas is holding his slim advantage in public opinion. Maduro’s job performance is evaluated positively by 48.8% of the population, basically the same as on election day. However, his negative perceptions have increased to 47.8% from roughly 40.0% before. The gap between him and his mentor, only continues to increase with Hugo Chávez now receiving a staggering 71.4% positive evaluation.
Many indicators have returned to approximately where they were in 2010 when the opposition made big gains in the National Assembly. “Situation of the country” has 57.6% negative compared to 41.6% positive. 68% of respondents evaluate their “personal situation” positively, which is actually low for Venezuela. 58.1% say the “economic situation” is negative. 72.8% negatively evaluate the availability of basic consumer goods.
All of this would be good news for Henrique Capriles if his numbers had seen a corresponding improvement. But they have actually slightly deteriorated. His net job performance numbers are negative. 43.0% evaluate his job performance positively, 48.1% negatively. In May his job evaluation numbers were roughly even; in March they were net positive.
The trust deficit that dogged Capriles during the 2012 elections is still present. Maduro has a 12 point deficit in trust; 41% say they trust him, while 54.3% say they do not. However, Capriles has an almost 20 point gap; 37.6% say they trust him while 57.1% say they do not.
All of this means that the political field has largely stabilized in terms of public opinion. On Datanalisis’ calculations, if new elections were held the result would be Maduro 50.8% to Capriles 49.1%—practically identical to the April 14 election.
Nevertheless, there are some striking numbers that show that we have not simply returned to “normal politics.” First, 55.3% see the Maduro government as unstable, while only 38.3% see it as stable. This is remarkable given that he was elected to a 6 year term as president of a state in which power has been concentrated in the executive branch, and his party controls all other branches of the national government and most local governments. It reflects a generalized perception that Maduro does not have full control of his party or his government.
These are the first trustworthy numbers to have come out after a recording of television host Mario Silva was released in May, revealing extensive corruption and conflict in chavismo. This does not seem to have affected Maduro in terms of job evaluation but probably has contributed to perceptions of instability.
There are also some alarming numbers regarding Venezuela’s institutions of electoral democracy.
44.4% of respondents said the National Electoral Council’s (CNE) April 14 results were accurate while 42.9% say were not. And as would be expected, these tendencies are strongly polarized along partisan lines. 92.9% of government supporters say CNE results are accurate; 93.4% of opposition supporters say CNE results inaccurate. Perhaps most important, while 44.9% of the population think Maduro won the election, fully 41% think Capriles won.
As a result, the CNE’s approval numbers have plummeted. It now has a roughly even evaluation: +47.8% vs.- 47.5% compared to +63.7% vs. -26.2% the day before the April elections. The CNE has not had approval numbers this low in many years.