The shifting sands in the political scenery of Venezuela

Since his rise to power in 1999, former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez constantly promoted the values of socialism and the Bolivarian spirit of revolution. These values were also adopted and expanded by his successor, Nicholas Maduro, who assumed control of the country in 2013.  Yet, the ongoing socio/political and economic crisis that began in 2010, for which the current Maduro government is being accused of starting, has convinced many Venezuelans to distance themselves from such beliefs and affiliations.

As turmoil in the country continues to increase, the majority of the population has expressed its growing dissatisfaction with the ruling government, as well as most of the other political parties. By analyzing further results of the survey on the crisis, this time we focused on the Venezuelan audience in an effort to better understand their opinions and thoughts regarding the current influence of parties and political figures in the country.

Political power vacuum in the country

Affiliation with certain political parties has always been a topic of debate and controversy amongst Venezuelans. However, due to recent economic developments that have forced many to the brink of poverty and starvation, many Venezuelans have turned their backs from supporting the parties that traditionally maintained influence in the country.

According to the results of our Venezuela political poll, the overwhelming majority of Venezuelans (71%) are not affiliated with any political party. This lack of affiliation is also shared by the younger generations, from the ages of 18-34, where 68% do not belong to a political party. Venezuelans have taken a hard stance towards every important political party in the country, with respondents who were affiliated showing evenly distributed, but low, affiliation rates. Even Popular Will (Voluntad Popular), the party from which the current Leader of the Opposition, Juan Guaido is a member of, does not appear to have many supporters. Even as one of the leading social-democratic parties of the opposition, Popular Will still only has affiliation from 13% of Venezuelans. The lowest percentage of approval, 6%, was received by Nicolas Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela), a number that has decreased even since January with the worsening crisis.

The push for a change in leadership

As the conflict between the government and the protesters intensifies, Venezuelans turn increasingly towards a political figure rather than a party or movement. 83% of the people surveyed have a negative opinion towards Nicolas Maduro, in contrast to Juan Guaido, Leader of the Opposition, who is viewed positively by 65% of the people.

In addition, Venezuelans who previously expressed no political affiliation share similar feelings towards Maduro (80% negative) and Guaido (62% positive) indicating that the current President is losing the confidence of the larger population of Venezuelans, not just those who support the parties of the Opposition. With regards to the younger generations ( ages 18-34), Maduro’s disapproval rates increase to 87%.

The former President, Hugo Chavez, has also received extensive criticism by the bulk of the populus. Although more than 6 years have passed since his death, his political legacy is still viewed negatively by most Venezuelans (68%). 15% approve of Chavez and 17.67% of those questioned maintain a neutral position. Overall, his approval posthumously is still higher than that of the current president, Nicolas Maduro. Contrary to Chavez, Maduro lacked any sort of charismatic leadership and never fully received large approvals from the Venezuelan people.

According to this Venezuela political poll, survey respondents indicated they are increasingly desperate for social stability and political resolution as the crisis continues to worsen. The people have lost faith in Nicholas Maduro, arguing that his implication in escalating the economic crisis does not make him fit to govern the country, and most Venezuelans have openly declared their lack of trust towards the traditional political parties of the country, a reaction that may complicate future attempts for resolution. This drives the people of Venezuela to look up to Juan Guaido, believing that he may be the one who could lead the country to a better future.