Poll Wars: Middle-class alert

A new poll in Venezuela is showing continued deterioration in Venezuelans’ perceptions of their country, and of President Nicolás Maduro.

The Venebarómetro poll, done by respected pollster Ivad in conjunction with Croes, Gutiérrez & Asociados, shows a worsening of the trends for Nicolás Maduro:

  • 84% of Venezuelans think the situation in the country is “bad,”
  • 57% of Venezuelans blame Maduro and his government for inflation,
  • only 27.4% of Venezuelans think his government is “good,”
  • 65% of Venezuelans think the government does not respect human rights, and
  • the opposition has an advantage in voting intention of close to 20 percentage points.

The numbers aren’t just bad, they’re getting worse when compared to the previous month. (For example, in April 30.6% of Venezuelans supported Maduro’s government, according to the same poll)

The startling thing, though, is how there is a real need out there for an independent option. Many voters are disenchanted with the Maduro government, but the MUD’s numbers are not all that great. When asked about the alternatives to substitute Maduro, 20% think the alternative is within chavismo, 28% think it’s in the MUD, and a whopping 35.4% think the alternative is an independent.

In fact, the percentage of people who define themselves as neither opposition nor government has grown to 30.7%, up from 23.3% a year ago. Most of these people are opposed to the government, but they don’t automatically identify with the MUD.

Who are these people? We find out toward the end of the file:

Clase media

Notice how support for an “independent” option is strongest in the middle classes, in sectors C and D. These are the people who earn wages – factory workers, public servants, school teachers and the like. They are the ones who have seen their purchasing power and their personal safety more dramatically affected. They are the ones who look to the MUD – particularly, its political parties – and do not find answers to their problems.

The MUD leadership needs to do a better job speaking to the concerns of these Venezuelans. Otherwise … some outsider might come in and sweep them off their feet.

People want hope. They are increasingly worried about their future, and their prospects for leaving the country are close to zero. They want answers to the economic and safety issues that plague them.

And what is the MUD arguing about? The logo on the card in the voting ballot.

I dunno, but it seems as if the MUD is seen as worrying about themselves more than the voter. If a large chunk of Venezuelans perceive them as hopeless navel-gazers, the environment will be ripe for some outside option to give Venezuelans hope out of this mess.

Let’s hope the MUD hears the message from this troublesome study.