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Venezuela's Chavez retains popularity: polls


08:36, May 08, 2012

CARACAS, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Two new polls released Monday by the Venezuelan government show that President Hugo Chavez continues to enjoy overwhelming popularity among voters in the lead up to presidential elections this fall, despite his ailing health.

The latest poll conducted by Venezuelan company Consultants of Public Opinion (VOP) shows 60.5 percent of those surveyed would vote for Chavez, with 25.8 percent saying they would vote for opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles.

The Venezuelan Institute of Data Analysis (IVAD), meanwhile, reported poll results showing 57.8 percent of those surveyed in favor of Chavez, with 30.4 percent in favor of Capriles.

More than 18.8 million voters are expected to vote in the presidential elections on Oct. 7, scheduled by the National Electoral Council (CNE).

Later this year, voters will also be voting for governors and state legislators in elections on Dec. 16.

Some 17.3 million voters are expected to participate in the December elections, as Venezuelans who reside abroad are not allowed to vote in regional contests.

According to politician and journalist Jose Vicente Rangel, who is a close ally of Chavez, the VOP survey took place on two different dates between March 26 and 30 and again between April 9 and 13 in 15 of the country's 24 states.

In his regular Sunday television program, Rangel said Chavez's 13-year presidency enjoys a 75.5 percent approval rating.

With only five months to go before the elections, it would be difficult to diminish the popularity Chavez enjoys among the people, said Rangel.

Political observers are watching Venezuela's presidential race closely as Chavez looks to extend his presidency for another six- year term while at the same time battling cancer with frequent trips to Cuba for radiation therapy.


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