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Maduro’s Rating Falls to 39% in Venezuela Poll on Economy

Aug. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s approval rating fell 21 percentage points this year to 39 percent in August, as the economy worsened, according to an Hinterlaces poll.

“The people are waiting for answers, for solutions,” Oscar Schemel, director of the polling company, said by telephone from Caracas today. “There’s a lot of uncertainty about the direction of the economy.”

Currency and price controls pushed annual inflation to 60.9 percent in May, the fastest in the world, while gross domestic product shrank 2.1 percent in the second quarter, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Slumping popularity has made Maduro reluctant to make economic adjustments such as raising gasoline prices or devaluing the bolivar, Eurasia Group analyst Risa Grais-Targow said in a client note Aug. 18. The government will start rationing basic products with biometric sensors before year-end, according to the country’s price controls ombudsman.

Maduro’s approval fell from highs of around 60 percent in December, after he sent troops to cut prices in electronic stores.

The president’s opponents are not benefiting from his weakness, with the approval rating of the main opposition alliance falling to 19 percent in August, said Schemel. Around 40 percent of Venezuelans are not identifying with either the government or the opposition, according to the poll.

The Aug. 2-9 poll surveyed 1,200 people and had a margin of error of 2.7 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anatoly Kurmanaev in Caracas at akurmanaev1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net Robert Jameson

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