Venezuela's Chavez has big lead over rival: Poll

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President Hugo Chavez has a more than 15-point lead on his main rival ahead of Venezuela's October presidential vote, according to the latest survey from pollster Datanalisis, released Monday.

Leftist-populist Chavez, 57, who has been in power since 1999, would get 46.1 percent of votes, according to a poll conducted from June 14-23, with a sample of 1,300 voters. His opponent, Henrique Capriles, a center-leftist, would get 30.8 percent, it found.

Pollster Luis Vicente Leon of Datanalisis stressed it is still too early to tell what will happen October 7. Leon expects the undecided vote will play a decisive role in the outcome of an election where 19 million Venezuelans over 16 years of age are eligible to vote.

Leon attributes a high rate of undecideds so close to the election to Chavez's late entry into the race. The incumbent, whose health condition remains uncertain, assured the media last week that a June 2011 diagnosis declared him cancer-free, after two operations and heavy medical treatment, during which he was absent from public life.

Datanalisis expects to publish its next survey in September.

Polarization between Venezuela's pro and anti-Chavez camps is evident in opinion polls, where results differ widely among pollsters. The majority of polling organizations report that Chavez is ahead in the race, but give him leads from zero to 35 percent ahead of Capriles.

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