CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez maintains a 15 percentage-point lead over opposition challenger Henrique Capriles in the run-up to the October 7 election, pollster Datanalisis said on Monday.
Datanalisis’ June poll showed 46.1 percent of voters backing Chavez and 30.8 percent supporting Capriles, while 23.1 percent were undecided or did not respond.
The lead was slightly narrower than the 15.9 percent advantage for Chavez in Datanalisis’ May poll, but still within the margin of error of 2.7 percentage points.
Chavez, 57, remains popular in his 14th year in power due to his oil-financed welfare spending and his enduring emotional connection with the country’s poor majority.
He has staged a remarkable recovery from an undisclosed type of cancer diagnosed last year that left him all but silent for weeks. Chavez has boosted his number of public appearances in recent months and last week began staging big street rallies featuring his typically thundering speeches.
Capriles, 40, a former state governor, is drawing big crowds on the campaign trail and projecting an image of youth and energy. He says he wants to end Chavez’s radical, statist policies and set up a Brazilian-style “modern left” administration.
Most of the country’s best-known pollsters give Chavez a wide lead over Capriles, though one respected public opinion firm puts them neck-and-neck.
The poll was conducted in 1,300 homes between June 14 and June 23.
Reporting by Diego Ore; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Xavier Briand