Title: Maduro Wins the Public Opinion Battle Against Reality Itself
Author: Eugenio Martínez
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2018 07:00:30 -0400
Many Venezuelans only have access to the information the government provides.
According to recent studies on public opinion, an important number of citizens
only see and hear the propaganda of Nicolás Maduro’s regime, and the economic
announcements of August 17, with the perception most people have of their
possible efficacy, are the evidence of it.
Economists have repeatedly explained the mistakes and inconsistencies in said
announcements but, although the last study by Ratio-UCAB says that 75% of
Venezuelans keep thinking that the country’s doing badly or very badly, the
assessment for September shows that, for the first time in two years, most
people stopped seeing the situation as “very bad.” In July 2018 (a month before
Maduro’s economic announcements), 46% of citizens described the country’s
situation as “very bad.” By September, this group had dropped to 29%. We’d need
to go back to November 2015 in the pollsters’ records to find a similar number.
[image 3]Studies made by More Consulting also offer similar conclusions,
showing Maduro’s best approval ratings in over two years: 8.7% of citizens
describe Maduro’s administration as “excellent,” while 14.9% say it’s “good.”
18% tends to consider it “regular to good.”The situation’s the same if we
consider how citizens answered questions about their day to day experience.
Only 14% think that their life is “very bad,” a figure that’s only mirrored by
that of March 2016. In July this year, before the economic announcements, 25%
of citizens said their personal situation was “very bad.”
Maduro’s slight climb in approval is associated with citizens who saw his
performance as “bad or regular to bad” in June, and who describe it as “regular
to good” after the announcements of August 17.
Even if we observe the data for political self-definition, we discover that the
perception dissidents have about the country is (naturally) quite different to
that of chavistas, but it also shows few similarities with that of
An important number of citizens only see and hear the propaganda of Nicolás
According to More Consulting’s study, 47% of Venezuelans describe themselves as
“independents disillusioned with both opposition and chavista politicians.” On
the other hand, 24% say they’re chavistas and 27.4% say they’re opposition.
If we analyze the approval rating for Maduro’s administration by
self-definition, we find that 31% of those who describe themselves as chavistas
say (after the economic announcements) that the administration is “excellent,”
while 37.4% say “it’s good.” 23.9% say it’s “regular to good.”
In the case of independents, perception is far more scattered: 35% of
independents see Maduro’s performance as “good.” Among dissidents, 65.7% say
the performance is “terrible,” while 17% say it’s “bad” and 9% describe it as
“regular to bad.”
The opposition’s worst moment
The political self-definition found in Ratio-UCAB’s study suggests that 36.6%
of citizens define themselves as independents, 32.5% say they’re chavistas and
30.9% say they’re opposition. In the last segment, we have the lowest result
since January 2017, when 33.7% of citizens said they opposed Maduro’s
government. There’s even a breaking point in political self-definition of
dissidents and independents due to the new economic measures.
Before, 49.6% of citizens said they opposed the government and only 19%
described themselves as independents. After the announcements, we detect a
movement from the opposition segment to the independents group.
[image 5]80% of Venezuelans also say that they’re well informed about
Maduro’s economic measures, according to that same study. 68.9% say they agree
with the minimum wage hike, 59% say they support the carnet de la patria to
receive a subsidy for gas price increases, 62% backs the monetary reconversion
(scrapping five zeroes off the currency) and 60% approves the tax increase
imposed on private companies.
The only measure that has no support is the VAT increase to 16%. In this case,
60% of citizens disapprove.
What will be the result of these measures? 23% say they’ll solve
hyperinflation, while 25% say they’ll solve shortages. 7% declined to respond.
If we consult the perception of citizens about the impact of the economic
measures, the results show a triumph for regime propaganda.
In the Ratio-UCAB study, citizens are given four reasons for shortages after
the economic announcements. Out of the four options, 56% blame the absence of
products on “shop owners who hide or hoard” the merchandise, and 11.7% blame it
on the mass shopping of consumers. Only 17% say that shortages are caused “by
product prices that are below production costs,” while 9.9% say that shortages
are the consequence “of the government’s persecution against shop owners.”
On the other hand, if we consult the perception of citizens about the impact of
the economic measures, the results show a triumph for regime propaganda: 18% of
citizens say that the country’s problems will be solved, while 51% say that
it’s possible they’ll be solved, but it requires patience.
Only 28% are convinced that the measures will fail.
Nicolás Maduro is definitely winning the battle for the perception of public
opinion, given the lack of different narratives, other than those offered by
regime propaganda. If we’re to take a positive spin on this, it’s the
opportunity the scenario provides for those wishing to reach the people.
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The post Maduro Wins the Public Opinion Battle Against Reality Itself
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