Juan Cristobal says: - We've been sitting on our reader poll results long enough, so here goes the rest of it. First up, law and order.
Our surveyed readers came out strongly against the death penalty, and expressed widespread fear of the police. Many of you strongly agree that the focus should be on ending poverty and exclusion. You also think that bringing life imprisonment and cracking down on drugs is part of the puzzle. (click on images to enlarge)
We tried to see how many of you respond more to heavy-handed policing versus those of you who see this as nothing more than a quick fix. A large majority of you (more than 60%) think that heavy-handed policing is not the solution it can appear to be. We also asked whether you were also inclined to simply throw up your arms and see crime as a problem with no solution, and the answer was a resounding No. You rightly blame the government for not doing enough about this.
We also asked about foreign policy.
An overwhelming majority of you is against having any contact with the FARC and against conflicts with Colombia and the US. Fewer of you (though still a majority) think Venezuela should not subsidize the oil purchasers of its neighbors, although many agree with using oil money as a diplomatic tool, to a certain degree.
An overwhelming majority think the Venezuelan government exaggerates US efforts to destabilize it, while most of you are weary of the power Cubans have over our country.
Most of you agree that this government is a record-breaker when it comes to corruption, while many of you recognize that corruption is embedded in our culture. On whether a petro-state such as ours can ever solve corruption, you are split down the middle. When asked whether you would pocket public funds if given the chance, seems like 80% of you lied...
Sadly, it seems like a slim majority of you thinks that corruption has now become part of our culture.
We then went back to asking about Hugo Chávez. 61% of you think he will leave office in 2013 or sooner - 41%, think it will be when his term ends in 2013, and 20% think it will be before then (we should have asked how!).
A good 20% of you are resigned to the idea that Chávez will die as President, although technically he could die before 2013, so. I guess this question could have used some better wording...
We then asked about Chávez and violence. Most of you feel that Chávez would resort to violence if he needed to, but curiously, most of you also thought that many in the Armed Forces would resist this strategy. When asked whether Chávez is calculating or crazy, a slim majority of you lean toward "crazy" as the appropriate adjective.
We then asked about the opposition and their actions in the last 5-10 years. Remarkably, although a good 40% believe the CNE stole the Recall Referendum that the opposition had won, a large majority of you (80%) think that boycotting the Legislative Elections was a mistake.
Most of you also regret Chávez did not get a one-way ticket to Cuba on April 11th, 2002, and you agree that the opposition has still not learned the right lessons from the past 10 years. Most of you (76%) also think that we would have been better off if cooler heads had prevailed in the opposition leadership between 2001 and 2005.
Your feelings toward the opposition's leadership are complicated. On the one hand, you disagree with the notion that the opposition is in bed with Chávez and with the idea that they should all merge into a single, unified party. On the other hand, you think the opposition has not grapsed that Chávez will not leave power voluntarily, and therefore that they should rally behind a single leader. Sadly, you feel that leader is not up to the task yet.
Not surprisingly, a majority of you (60%) think the opposition deserves all the criticism they get and then some. Finally, your expectations on the coming elections are that we will win between 9 and 10 governorships and 139 mayor's office.
Thanks again to everyone who participated!