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Narrowing the Gap: Explaining the Increasing Competitiveness of the Venezuelan Opposition

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Yordan K. Kutiyski
Kieskompas (Election Compass), Amsterdam.
André Krouwel
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Kieskompas (Election Compass).


This article seeks to explain why electoral support for the Venezuelan opposition has increased substantially, using Venezuelan public opinion survey data from LAPOP and an opt-in sample collected through the online vote advice application Brújula Presidencial Venezuela. It analyzes why Venezuelans who had either voted for Chávez or abstained in 2006 defected and started to support the opposition in subsequent elections. It proposes several reasons: negative voter evaluations of the economy, concern for public safety, and dissatisfaction with Venezuelan democracy. While the finding that negative policy evaluations boost support for the opposition aligns with theoretical expectations, this study finds a strong relationship between having different evaluations of the quality of democracy and supporting Chávez, which shows that the advocacy of two competing visions of democracy by the incumbent and the opposition also affects voting patterns in Venezuela.

Research Article
Copyright © University of Miami 2014

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