Poll shows Chávez with large lead over opposition candidate
Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez maintains a 15 percentage-point lead over his opposition rival Henrique Capriles in a closely-watched poll published yesterday, less than three months ahead of presidential election.
The June survey by Datanalisis showed 46.1 per cent of voters backing Mr Chávez and 30.8 per cent for Mr Capriles, while the rest were undecided or did not respond. Mr Chávez (57) is seeking a new six-year term at the helm of South America’s biggest oil exporter, but he has been battling cancer for a year and has not not able to match the intensive campaigning of his younger opponent, a basketball- loving former state governor.
The socialist president remains popular in his 14th year in power thanks to huge state spending on social programmes and the enduring emotional connection that even his fiercest critics concede he shares with the country’s poor majority.
Mr Capriles (40) has been drawing big crowds while projecting an image of youth and energy. Some recent polls have shown him narrowing the gap with Mr Chávez. – (Reuters)