CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan opposition candidate Henrique Capriles edged closer to President Hugo Chavez in an opinion poll but remained 10 percentage points behind the socialist leader in the run-up to the October 7 election, according to two sources who have seen the poll.
Respected public opinion firm Datanalisis’ survey showed Capriles with 37.2 percent of the vote compared with 47.3 percent for Chavez, closer than the 12.5 percentage point difference registered in the last Datanalisis survey.
The poll, which had a margin of error of 2.4 percent, was conducted between August 25 and September 5, the sources said. Datanalisis did not immediately respond to requests for confirmation of the details.
Chavez leads the majority of the country’s best-known polls but they are notoriously controversial and divergent in Venezuela. Capriles’ numbers have been creeping up and another well-known pollster, Consultores 21, has the candidates neck-and-neck.
Chavez has unleashed a torrent of public spending to help boost his chances in the upcoming vote. His campaign has played up his liberal spending of the OPEC nation’s oil revenue, along with his charisma and humble roots, to convince voters to give him a third six-year term.
The younger Capriles is hoping to tap into growing discontent with crime, unemployment and product shortages to unseat Chavez after 14 years in office.
He has spent months traveling the country, walking through slums and rural villages to speak with voters and win over wavering Chavez supporters. He has been seeking to display an image of youthful energy in contrast to Chavez, who earlier this year spent several months receiving cancer treatment.
(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth and Marianna Parraga; Editing by Bill Trott)