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Venezuela in Decline:
Atlantic Council
Poll Results

Release Date: February 21, 2018

National poll reveals collapsing levels of trust in institutions and profound concerns over the economic crisis and food shortages.

For media inquiries, please contact press@atlanticcouncil.org.

Scroll to view the results

Interviewee Profile

Page 1 / 19

Political Self-identification

Page 2 / 19
How do you identify yourself within Venezuelan politics?
The sample is equally divided in terms of political segments, but independents and members of the opposition maintain statistical difference with respect to the pro-government group. In general, the telephone studies tend to present a slight difference with respect to the studies of households in favor of the pro-government bloc.

Evaluating Nicolás Maduro’s Administration

Page 3 / 19
How would you rate Nicolás Maduro’s job in managing the country?
Maduro’s approval rate is close to 31%, which is high considering the deterioration of the country’s overall conditions. His approval is maintained by the strong ideological solidarity of his supporters plus the support of a significant group of non-aligned who are close to the ruling party, probably influenced by its closing of ranks and its recent consolidation of power – a product of favorable results in recent elections.

Perception: Country’s Situation

Page 4 / 19
Considering the last 12 months, how would you rate your quality of life?
Three in four interviewees recognize that their quality of life has worsened in the last year, especially those who identify as being independents or in the opposition. Even among chavistas, however, nearly half believe that the situation has gotten worse relative to last year.

Main Problems

Page 5 / 19
What do you consider is the main problem the country is currently facing?
The economic crisis and inadequate food supply stand out as the main problems identified by Venezuelans, emphasizing economic issues over insecurity or political stability. These results are consistent across respondents of all political affiliations.


Page 6 / 19
Who do you think is to blame for the main problems the country is currently facing?

Trust in Institutions

Page 7 / 19
How much confidence do you have in each of the following institutions?
Venezuelans distrust virtually every institution polled. Other than the Catholic Church, over six in ten respondents indicated they have little to no trust in the National Assembly, the police, the military, the Organization of American States, the Constituent Assembly, the international community, or the US government.

Food Supply

Page 8 / 19
How would you evaluate the country’s food supply situation?
More than eight in ten interviewees say the country’s food supply is in a bad state, with nearly half describing current food conditions as very bad. This includes nearly all opposition and independent respondents and more than half of pro-government respondents.

Medicine Supply

Page 9 / 19
How would you evaluate the country’s medicine supply situation?
Perceptions about the supply of medicines are consistent with those regarding food supply. Again, differences are observed among political segments, but even a significant majority of pro-government respondents give a bleak evaluation of the country’s medicine supply.

International Assistance

Page 10 / 19
Do you believe that Venezuela requires international assistance to improve its economic situation?
A significant majority of respondents consider international assistance as necessary to improve the country’s economic situation. Those who identify with the opposition are the most in favor of such assistance, but the majority of independent respondents would also accept it. While most pro-government supporters oppose assistance, one in three would accept it, despite the direct clashing with their official ideological narrative.

Dialogue / Negotiations

Page 11 / 19
Do you believe that dialogue between the National Government and the Venezuelan opposition is positive or negative for finding a solution to the country’s problems?
Half of interviewees consider that dialogue between the government and the opposition can contribute to solving the country’s problems, compared to forty percent who believe otherwise. However, in spite of this difference, there is no one dominant position. In general, perceptions are split among ideological lines, with most opposition respondents rejecting dialogue and a majority of pro-government interviewees supporting it. Again, polling was conducted before breakdown of the most recent discussions in the Dominican Republic.

Negotiations (Amnesty for transition)

Page 12 / 19
If a political transition were to take place in Venezuela, would you be in agreement with hypothetical protections and amnesty for departing Maduro government officials?
Amnesty as a negotiating tool is rejected by nearly half of interviewees. Nonetheless, a third of those who identify with the opposition or as independents would accept such a mechanism (plus more than half of pro-government respondents).


Page 13 / 19
Do you agree or disagree with the sanctions imposed by the government of the United States of America to Venezuelan public officials?
Venezuelans are split on US sanctions that target Venezuelan officials, with similar percentages supporting and rejecting them. Predictably, opposition respondents overwhelmingly support such actions and a large majority of pro-government respondents oppose them. Still, the overall level of support for sanctions has risen. A September 2017 Datanálisis poll had rejection of sanctions at 51 percent.


Page 14 / 19
Do you believe that imposed sanctions have personally affected you?
A majority of respondents say that sanctions have not affected them personally. Still, slightly more than one in three believe sanctions have had an effect on their personal lives. This is likely a consequence of the government’s effective campaign of blaming sanctions for Venezuelans’ broader economic malaise.

Oil Embargo

Page 15 / 19
How much would you agree or disagree with a potential oil embargo?
Eight in ten respondents would not be in agreement with an oil embargo. This is likely a consequence of the government’s propaganda machinery that has evoked fear in the population around the household implications of an embargo.

Willingness to Vote : Present Conditions

Page 16 / 19
Generally, how willing are you to vote in upcoming presidential elections under current conditions - that is, with the same CNE and no changes in the present electoral conditions?
A surprisingly high number of Venezuelans would be willing to go out and vote under current electoral conditions despite significant questioning of the National Electoral Council. However, more than 2 in 5 opposition voters and a third of independent voters would not be willing to vote. This may be due to people’s perception of the electoral process as rigged and puts any non-chavista candidate at a significant disadvantage. This poll was conducted before talks ended in the Dominican Republic and the government unilaterally announced a snap presidential election, which may result in a further decrease in Venezuelans’ willingness to vote.

Call for Abstention

Page 17 / 19
If the (Mesa de la Unidad) were to call for abstention in the next presidential elections, what would you do?
Once again, as of January, for Venezuelans, voting is the way of expression and change, and an opposition call to abstain would largely fall on deaf ears. These results may have shifted in the last few weeks given new electoral developments.


Page 18 / 19
If elections were to be held next Sunday, who would you vote for?
Voter dissatisfaction with the political status quo has opened an increasingly large space in the electoral process. Venezuelans would largely prefer an independent candidate, including more than half of independent voters and a third of opposition voters. About 7 in 10 government-aligned respondents would vote for a government candidate.

Willingness to Protest

Page 19 / 19
In general, and considering the current situation in the country, how likely are you to go out and protest against the government to demand change?
After dramatic protests in 2017, there is little willingness to protest as of January 2018, with six in 10 respondents opposed to the idea.

Technical Details

Scope of Study:
Natural citizens, of legal age, registered to vote at a national level, of all socioeconomic strata
Size of Sample:
800 people
Margin of error:
± 3,39%
Confidence Interval:
Field Dates:
January 17-19, 2018
Survey Type:
Telephone survey in homes
Type of Sampling:
Stratified Random
Polling Firm: