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President Hugo Chavez Leads Rival Henrique Capriles by 10 Points

ADVANCE FOR USE SUNDAY, SEPT. 23, 2012 AND THEREAFTER - In this Sept. 5, 2012 photo, people watch a TV in Caracas, Venezuela broadcasting President Hugo Chavez delivering a speech as presidential candidate. Nearly 14 years after President Hugo Chavez took office, and despite the biggest oil bonanza in Venezuela’s history, there’s little outward sign of the nearly one trillion petrodollars that have flowed into the country. The populist president has used the oil wealth to buttress his support through cash handouts, state-run grocery stores and a gamut of other social programs. With more money in the economy, incomes are higher and the number of people living in poverty has fallen. Yet some experts say Chavez could have done much more to improve the country’s infrastructure, boost its economy and invest in the very oil industry that keeps Venezuela afloat. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

ADVANCE FOR USE SUNDAY, SEPT. 23, 2012 AND THEREAFTER - In this Sept. 5, 2012 photo, people watch a TV in Caracas, Venezuela broadcasting President Hugo Chavez delivering a speech as presidential candidate. Nearly 14 years after President Hugo Chavez took office, and despite the biggest oil bonanza in Venezuela’s history, there’s little outward sign of the nearly one trillion petrodollars that have flowed into the country. The populist president has used the oil wealth to buttress his support through cash handouts, state-run grocery stores and a gamut of other social programs. With more money in the economy, incomes are higher and the number of people living in poverty has fallen. Yet some experts say Chavez could have done much more to improve the country’s infrastructure, boost its economy and invest in the very oil industry that keeps Venezuela afloat. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)  (AP)

An independent poll released Tuesday shows President Hugo Chavez holds a 10-point lead over rival Henrique Capriles ahead of Venezuela’s October 7th election. 

The poll was conducted by Datanalisis, one of Venezuela’s most respected polling firms. It shows that around 49 percent claim they’ll be voting for Chavez, while about 39 percent said they’re leaning toward Capriles. About 11 percent didn’t reveal a preference. 

The poll questioned 1,600 people between August 25th and September 5th. Luis Vicente Leon, a director of the polling firm, told the Associated Press that this is the final poll Datanalisis plans to publicly release before the elections.

Leon points out that Capriles has focused his campaign in small-town rallies --over 260 so far--  while the president has been less active, due in part to his cancer treatment. 

Some surveys, such as those conducted by pro-government pollster GIS XXI, indicate Chavez leads by more than 20 percent. But others, like those by Consultores 21 and Varianzas, show Capriles even with Chavez or slightly ahead.

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“The variation between the polls is so big that there are some that say Chavez is winning by 30 points and others that say he’s losing by almost 10 points,” said Angel Alvarez, a political science professor at Central University of Venezuela. “Most people don’t believe in any of the polls anymore because they see so much variability that they say somebody is lying or everybody is lying,” he added.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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