September 7, 2010

THAT'S 63% IN VENEZUELAN:

Chavez’s base, the poor, wobbles as election looms (FABIOLA SANCHEZ, 09/06/2010, AP)

Ever since Chavez took office 11 years ago, the poor have been his base, and they were encouraged by five years of oil-fueled economic growth that lifted millions above the poverty line from 2004 to 2008. The poorest are still his biggest supporters, but Luna says she won’t vote in congressional elections on Sept. 26 because she doesn’t believe in either pro- or anti-Chavez politicians.

Her disenchantment reflects an erosion of support for Chavez in the past two years as more Venezuelans grow frustrated with recession, 30-percent annual inflation, bad public services and rampant crime.

Chavez is fighting to maintain his United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s dominance of the National Assembly in the approaching elections and keep his “Bolivarian Revolution” going. His own job isn’t at stake, but his popularity hit a seven-year low of 36 percent in July, according to the Venezuelan polling firm Consultores 21. The survey also found his support shrinking in the barrios that have long underpinned his political survival.

Seeing an opportunity, opposition politicians are increasingly campaigning in slums once considered solid Chavez territory.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 7, 2010 6:37 AM
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