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Honduran poll — majority support for Zelaya, constitutional reform

A poll just released by the experienced survey research firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner puts the lie to a number of claims about Honduran public opinion, confirming that Zelaya remains more popular than de facto Honduran leader Roberto Micheletti.  Holding an assembly to reform the Constitution was the most widely favored way to “deal with the current political crisis.” (Suggestions by Zelaya that a post-election assembly explore constitutional reform triggered the coup and Zelaya’s temporary exile.)  From the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner press release [1]:

Nearly four months after Honduran President Mel Zelaya was forced from office, he retains considerable public support, according to a new survey by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.

  • By a large 22-point margin (60 to 38 percent), the Honduran public disapproves of the removal on June 28 of Zelaya as president.
  • Two-thirds approve of Zelaya’s performance as president. Nineteen percent rated his performance as “excellent” and another 48 percent as “good.”

The national survey, which involved face-to-face interviews with 621 randomly selected Hondurans from October 9-13, found that Zelaya is considerably more popular than Roberto Micheletti, who has been serving as de facto president. By a 2-1 margin (57 to 28 percent), Hondurans have a negative personal opinion of Micheletti. And a slight majority gives Micheletti’s tenure as president negative marks.

The eight page “Frequency Questionnaire [2]” (.PDF) shows that Hondurans favor holding an assembly to reform the Honduran constitution by 54 to 43 percent — compared to 72 to 27 percent disapproval of keeping Micheletti as president.  Similarly, a 55 to 43 percent majority favored amending the constitution to allow for re-election of presidents.  However, respondents were split 49 to 50 percent on Mel Zelaya’s resumption as president with full powers.  Interestingly — given that Zelaya is viewed by many on the right as a stalking horse for Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez — only 10 percent of a respondent split sample reported “warm” feelings towards Chavez, versus 39 percent towards Barack Obama.

The face to face interview survey sampled 621 respondents between October 9 and 13.  Judging by questions about age, educational attainment, and political views, the respondent sample was youthful and slightly pro-Zelaya in the 2005 election.

The poll is a useful supplement to an excellent Al Jazeera “Fault Lines” report [3] on Honduras by Avi Lewis.  Both halves of the 24 minute report are embedded below.  Lewis concludes pessimistically,

“Through the clouds of tear gas and political spin, some clarity is emerging from this long crisis. Even with Zelaya back in the presidential palace, his time would be brief, his power minimal. Even with the de facto government gone, the coup successfully prevented any great challenge to the established order. […] Whatever story the world hears about elections and the transition back to democracy in Honduras, there will continue to be struggle, resistance, and loss. And there will still be people here who are living in fear.”

Perhaps the poll will help restore some balance in coverage and understanding of the Honduran struggle.

(Via [4] Nell Lancaster and Honduras Oye! [5])

UPDATE, 10/23: Nell reminds me that there was a Honduran poll in late August (noted by her [6] and republished by Al Giordano [7] earlier this month) done by the Honduran firm COIMER & OP, with a larger sample (about 1500 people) and broadly similar results.

4 Comments (Open | Close)

4 Comments To "Honduran poll — majority support for Zelaya, constitutional reform"

#1 Comment By Megan Mills On October 27, 2009 @ 9:33 am

Those that are concerned with what is happening in Honduras should be reading lagringasblocito on blogspot and the yahoo group honduras_living. These two resources are invaluable for maintaining a feel for events up to the minute.

#2 Comment By Thomas Nephew On October 29, 2009 @ 11:47 am

Thanks for the comment. It was hung up in the spam filter until now, I don’t check that daily.

La Gringa is an American expat living in Honduras. Skimming the top of her blog, she’s apparently pro-coup (though she probably doesn’t call it that) and/or anti-Zelaya. Her [8] decries American *over*involvement in the crisis, and says (encouragingly, to me) this about a Radio Globo broadcast: “The announcer reported Barack Obama’s position: That Hondurans are so repressed that he will only recognize elections if Zelaya is restored to office first. Like La Gringa, that was news to me. But in a [9] she does document State Department visits, and suggests a rift in OAS about this, with the US on the more anti-election-unless-Zelaya-restored side: “Another bit of information that I got is that Harper’s government in Canada, Martinelli in Panama, Uribe in Colombia, Arias in Costa Rica, and Insulza in the OAS are already working on a plan to observe and recognize elections no matter what, and they are annoyed with the latest USA government’s actions.”

#3 Comment By Megan Mills On October 29, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

It’s nearly time for Honduras to have their national elections, November 29, 2009. These elections are more important this year than ever before. Please encourage your congressperson to read about the alleged coup in Honduras and the history leading up to it. Now is the time to put this part of Honduran history behind us and have free, transparent, and recognized elections. Then we can go on to build our democracy our way.
Megan Mills Tegucigalpa, Honduras

#4 Comment By Thomas Nephew On October 29, 2009 @ 4:02 pm

From where I sit, I disagree about “alleged” coup, or about the prospect for free and transparent elections under the current circumstances. But we should all inform ourselves as best we can, and I have tried to do so; whatever it is that’s happening in Honduras, we agree it’s important. — I’d be interested in your reaction to the poll and the TV report cited above.