Honduras: poll shows growing opposition to coup

On Oct. 23 the Washington, DC-based polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner released the results of a survey involving face-to-face interviews held Oct. 9-13 with 621 randomly selected Hondurans; the firm didn’t give the margin of error. According to the survey, 60% of Hondurans disapproved of the June 28 removal of President Manuel Zelaya from office, while only 38% approved. Some 19% rated Zelaya’s performance in office as “excellent” and another 48% as “good”; the poll showed 57% personally disapproving of Roberto Micheletti, de facto president since Zelaya’s overthrow, while 28% approved.

The pretext for the coup was a claim that Zelaya’s purpose in calling for a constituent assembly was to end the Constitution’s ban on second terms for presidents. According to the survey, Hondurans favor allowing re-election by a solid 55% to 43%, while 54% support holding a constituent assembly as a solution to the current crisis, with 43% opposed. While the Honduran right depicts Zelaya’s supporters as backers of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez Frías, only 10% of Hondurans feel “warm” towards Chávez, while 83% have a negative impression, according to the survey. (Greenberg press release, Oct. 23; Honduras Coup 2009 blog, Oct. 24; Bloomberg, Oct. 23)

The Greenberg poll, although based on a relatively small sampling, gives results similar to those from the two other polls published since the coup: a survey by the Costa Rican-based CID Gallup firm in early July and a poll the Tegucigalpa firm Consultants in Investigation of Markets and Public Opinion (COIMER & OP) conducted Aug. 23-29. The July CID Gallup survey showed a plurality of 46% opposing the coup, while the August COIMER & OP poll showed 52.7% against Zelaya’s removal, with only 17.4% supporting it (the rest didn’t answer). If the surveys are correct, opposition to the coup has grown steadily over the past four months, with large majority now rejecting Zelaya’s removal. (Daily Kos, July 12; Narco News, Oct. 6; Honduras Coup 2009 blog, Oct. 7)

The coup regime regularly claims broad support. At the beginning of October, de facto president Micheletti told the ACAN-EFE news service that polls his government had taken showed that “87%, 90% say they are in agreement with” a state of siege he declared at the end of September. (ACAN-EFE, Oct. 2) There are no reports indicating that the de facto government ever made these polls public.

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Oct. 25

See our last posts on Honduras.