Popularity of Venezuela's Maduro inches down to 24.3 percent
By Alexandra Ulmer
CARACAS Aug 13 (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's popularity fell to 24.3 percent in July, hurt by voracious inflation and shortages of goods ranging from spare parts to shampoo, according to respected local pollster Datanalisis.
The oil-producing country is suffering from a brutal recession stemming in part from strict controls that crimp access to hard currency and imports, and aggravated by the tumble in crude prices.
Maduro, who narrowly won an election to replace late leader Hugo Chavez in 2013, has avoided the structural reforms economists say are crucial to keep conditions from worsening.
About 24.3 percent of those surveyed gave positive evaluations to the former bus driver and union leader's governance, down from 25.8 percent in May, the latest Datanalisis survey shows.
Negative evaluations climbed to 70.4 percent from 68.8 percent.
Several Latin America presidents, including Brazil's Dilma Rousseff and Peru's Ollanta Humala, have even lower approval ratings.
Maduro, who lacks favorable oil prices and Chavez's charisma, is gearing up for the Dec. 6 parliamentary election in which the political opposition has its best shot in years at winning the National Assembly.
Only 19.2 percent would vote for candidates from the ruling Socialist Party if the election were held this Sunday, versus 42.2 percent for the opposition, according to the poll. Continuación...