Venezuela's approval for President Maduro and Chavismo hit new low

Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro's ratings hit an all time low in recent polls, and more than 85 percent of Venezuelans say the country is on the wrong track.

Miraflores Palace/Reuters
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a cabinet meeting at Miraflores Palace in Caracas in this December 2 photo.

 David Smilde is the moderator of WOLA's blog: Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights. The views expressed are the author's own.

President Nicolas Maduro’s job approval ratings have hit an all time low for him and for Chavismo. Datanalisis’s November poll puts the number at 24.5 percent, meaning he has dropped 5.7 percent [approval] since September and 26 percent since narrowly defeating Henrique Capriles in April 2013. Fully 85.7 percent of respondents think the country is on the wrong track.

Perhaps most worrying for President Maduro is that his numbers have slid so far without having taken on unpopular economic reforms such as devaluing the currency or raising gas prices.

Looking at previous Datanalisis polls using the same methodology, Hugo Chávez was in the low 30s from mid-2002 to mid-2003, reaching a low of 30.8 percent approval in June 2003. 

In 2009 a survey of Venezuelan political culture by the Centro Gumilla found that 31 percent of their respondents espoused the basic beliefs of 21st Century Socialism. I had assumed that that made 30 percent Chavismo’s bedrock. But Maduro’s popularity has descended below that.

I will be looking out for data on Chavismo and the Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela more broadly to see if their popularity levels are descending as fast as Maduro’s. This would indicate whether the disenchantment is aimed at Chavismo as a model of governance, Maduro as Chávez’s successor, or both.

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