Poll: Wide Majority of Hondurans Oppose Coup d’Etat, Want Zelaya Back
By Al Giordano
Finally, hard and reliable data - by a legally certified Honduran polling company – provides a clear measurement of how the Honduran people view the June 28 coup d'etat, its “president" Roberto Micheletti, President Manuel Zelaya and the national civil resistance.
The polling data – which we make public for the first time here - shows that Hondurans widely (by a margin of 3 to 1) oppose the coup, oppose coup “president” Micheletti by a margin of 3 to 1 and favor the reinstatement of their elected President Manuel Zelaya by a clear majority of 3 to 2.
On February 9 of this year, the Gaceta Oficial of the government of Honduras published the Supreme Electoral Tribunal’s certification of a Tegucigalpa polling company, COIMER & OP (Consultants in Investigation of Markets and Public Opinion), as a legally authorized pollster for the November 29 elections. The Tribunal inspected the company’s polling methodology, its offices, its staff, gave it the stamp of approval and the green light to survey the Honduran electorate.
The Field has obtained the full results of a recent COIMER & OP survey of 1,470 Honduran citizens over 18 years of age at randomly selected homes (no more than one respondent allowed from each home) proportional to national, state and municipal population and matching other demographic measurements (gender, age, etcetera) in the country, from August 23 to 29 of this year. The poll has a margin of error of four percent.
This is the first survey to be made public since a July Gallup poll showed a plurality of Hondurans opposed the coup d’etat and Roberto Micheletti, and a plurality wanted Zelaya back as president. What is interesting from this survey is that opposition to Micheletti and the coup increased between early July and late August from mere pluralities to a punishing majority: evidence that the nonviolent civil resistance movement has worked effectively to strip legitimacy from the coup regime. As of late August, only 17.4 percent of Hondurans favor the coup d’etat, only 22.2 percent believe Micheletti should remain as president, and only 33 percent oppose the restitution of President Manuel Zelaya.
And those were the numbers before Micheletti’s very unpopular “state of siege” decree of September 29 began to divide his supporters even further.
For Spanish-language readers, political reporters and analysts, The Field and Narco News today make available the full survey and all its cross-tabulations for your analysis.
For English speakers, we will translate the survey questions and the results here, adding some analysis:
Are you in favor of the June 28 coup d’etat against President Manuel Zelaya Rosales?
In favor of coup: 17.4 percent
Opposed to coup: 52.7 percent
No response: 29.9 percent
Strip away the “no response” and the percentages among those with an opinion reveal a stunning 75 percent percent against the coup with only 25 percent in favor: an anti-coup margin of 3 to 1.
Meanwhile, coup “president” Micheletti remains a very unpopular man among Hondurans:
Should Micheletti stay in power or leave the current government?
Micheletti should stay: 22.2 percent
Micheletti should leave: 60.1 percent
No response: 17.7 percent
Among those who express an opinion, Micheletti’s opponents outnumber his supporters by a margin of nearly 3 to 1.
A clear majority supports Manuel Zelaya’s return to the presidency – 60 percent of those who express an opinion:
Do you support the return of Manuel Zelaya Rosales to the Presidency of the Republic?
Support Zelaya’s return: 51.6 percent
Oppose Zelaya’s return: 33 percent
No response: 15.4 percent
Even the National Civil Resistance - maligned daily in the pro-coup media, portrayed sensationally as lawless and threatening of the civil order - enjoys a plurality of support from the Honduran population:
Do you agree or disagree with the marches by the national resistance throughout the country against the coup d’etat?
Support the marches: 45.5 percent
Oppose the marches: 41.8 percent
No response: 12.7 percent
By a more than 2 to 1 margin, Hondurans view the police and military as overly repressive against the national resistance:
Do you think that the Armed Forces and National Police are engaging in repression or not against the National Resistance?
Yes, there is repression: 54.5 percent
No, there is not repression: 21.8 percent
No response: 23.7 percent
When asked their opinion about that repression, an overwhelming majority of Hondurans opposes that repression:
Do you agree with the repression or condemn the repression that the Armed Forces and National Police have engaged in against the National Resistance?
Against repression: 65.4 percent
For repression: 8 percent
No response: 26.4 percent
Strip away the non respondents, and a whopping 89 percent oppose the repression against the civil resistance, including many Hondurans that do not themselves support the resistance marches.
Here’s another interesting question and result:
Who promoted and financed the coup d’etat that toppled President Manuel Zelaya Rosales? Among the political, business, military sectors or foreign capital, which was behind the coup?
All of the above: 23.6 percent
Business sector: 16.8 percent
Political sector: 15 percent
None of the above: 9.5 percent
Military sector: 6.7 percent
International capital: 2.4 percent
No response: 26.8 percent
The COIMER & OP survey also reveals a chilling fact regarding freedom of the press under the coup regime: that the two national TV and radio stations shut down by the coup regime happen to be the most trusted news sources in the entire country, out rating all other media outlets:
Which radio news do you prefer to inform you of events in the country?
Radio Globo: 23.4 percent
HRN: 22.4 percent
Radio América: 13.7 percent
Radio Cadena voces: 0.7 percent
Local station: 10.3 percent
No answer: 29.5
Which television news program do you prefer to inform you about the happenings in the country regarding the coup d’etat against President Manuel Zelaya Rosales?
Channel 36 Cholusat: 18 percent
Channel 6: 16.9 percent
Abriendo Brecha: 10.7
Hable como Habla: 7.8
Once Noticias: 3.7
Local and regional channels: 9.5
No response: 11.4
The survey also shows that only 53.9 percent of Hondurans read daily newspapers, and that only 55.2 percent prefer any newspaper at all to inform them of happenings in the country:
Which newspaper do you prefer to inform you about the happenings in the country regarding the coup d’etat against President Manuel Zelaya Rosales?
No response: 44.8 percent
La Prensa: 22.6 percent
La Tribuna: 12.2 percent
Tiempo: 9.9 percent
El Heraldo: 9.3 percent
El Libertador: 1.2 percent
Interestingly, prior to June 28, the daily Tiempo of San Pedro Sula was the fourth most read paper in the country. Since the coup it has now surpassed the daily Heraldo and is catching up on second place La Tribuna – both of Tegucigalpa – and Tiempo is in striking distance for second position. Tiempo is the only newspaper of the four that has not offered extremely dishonest pro-coup spin.
The results of the next question should indicate why the Micheletti regime keeps talking so loudly about the November 29 elections which the rest of the world has said cannot be recognized as fair or free under the repressive conditions imposed by the coup regime. However, a strong majority of Hondurans still favor those elections:
Should the general elections organized by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal for November 19 happen even if the institutional crisis isn’t resolved?
Yes, have elections: 66.4 percent
No, don’t have them: 23.8 percent
No response: 2.9 percent
The 23.8 percent that oppose holding the elections before the crisis is resolved is actually a very high number compared to general public opinion: Elections are like mom and apple pie. Only a very highly politically conscious citizen would make the leap of understanding that elections are not fair and free under a coup regime and therefore openly oppose them happening. I would venture an estimation that that number of 23.8 percent represents participants in the Civil Resistance movements, who have universally argued that the conditions do not exist to hold free elections given what the coup regime has done to censor and violently repress all dissent. That would represent an unusually strong base from which to continue organizing.
Here are some questions about those elections:
What political party do you belong to or sympathize with?
Liberal: 38.5 percent
Democratic Unification: 1.4
Independent Candidate: 2.9
No response: 5.0
Will you vote in the General Elections to elect President, members of Congress and Mayors?
Yes: 53.8 percent
No: 18.8 percent
Maybe: 12.5 percent
Don’t know: 9 percent
No response: 3.5 percent
What is your opinion of Independent Candidates?
Good opinion: 51 percent
Bad opinion: 16.2 percent
No response: 32.8 percent
If the elections were held today for President, who would you vote for:
Pepe Lobo (National Party): 28.2 percent
Elvin Santos (Liberal Party): 14.4 percent
Carlos H. Reyes (Independent): 12 percent
César Ham (Democratic Unification): 2.2 percent
Bernard Martinez (PINU): 1.2 percent
Felipe Avila (Christian Democrat): 1 percent
None of the above: 24.7 percent
No response: 16.3 percent
We can see from those combined numbers that while Zelaya’s Liberal Party remains the most popular, its pro-coup nominee Elvin Santos is rejected by about two-thirds of his own party members. We can also see very low interest in participation by voters, with only 53.8 percent saying they will definitely vote. And – should there be a negotiated solution in time for the resistance movements to participate in clean elections (a very big “if”) – Independent candidate Carlos H. Reyes is very well positioned to supplant the Liberal Party nominee to become one of the top two candidates, the most viable alternative to Lobo, especially if, as has been talked a lot about, the Democratic Unification Party of candidate Cesar Ham joins in coalition behind Reyes.
But, of course, such talk is way premature, since conditions do not at present exist for fair and free elections, and its not clear there is enough time in the next 53 days to fix that.
This chart measures the popularity (“Excelente y Buena opinion”) against the negative rating (“Mala opinion”) along with the middle category of “regular opinion” and “don’t know or no response”):
The most popular political figures in the country are:
President Manuel Zelaya: 44.7 percent (to 25.7 percent negative)
First Lady Xiomara Castro de Zelaya: 42.6 percent (to 17.9 percent negative)
That they enjoy the highest favorability compared to any other national figure - after a massive PR ad campaign all summer long on TV, radio and in the pro-coup dailies to portray Zelaya as a national villain - is also an indication of the pro-coup media's own crisis of credibility with the public.
The least popular political figures in Honduras are those perceived as coup leaders:
Coup “president” Roberto Micheletti: 56.5 percent negative (to just 16.2 percent positive)
Liberal Party candidate Elvin Santos: 45.2 percent negative (to 18.6 percent positive)
Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez: 42.6 percent (to 26.1 percent positive)
General Romeo Vasquez: 40 percent negative (to 19.1 percent positive)
National Party candidate Pepe Lobo: 34.1 percent negative (to 30.5 percent positive)
Interestingly, Independent and anti-coup presidential candidate Carlos H. Reyes is more popular (24.6 percent) than unpopular (14.1 percent) as are anti-coup media voices like Radio Globo’s Eduardo Maldonado (31.4 percent positive to 23.2 percent negative) and Channel 36’s Esdras Amado Lopez (23.5 percent positive to 17.3 percent negative). They are, along with the Zelayas, the only national public figures to enjoy a significantly more favorable rating from Hondurans than negative.
The bottom line: A majority of the Honduran people oppose the coup, oppose Micheletti and a wide majority oppose the regime’s repression against the national resistance. And a plurality openly support the civil resistance movement.
So when Republican US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen yesterday issued a “Twitter communiqué” claiming that “nobody wants Zelaya back,” she was blowing smoke out of the wrong air hole. All those - from the regime, to the oligarch diaspora to Lanny Davis and the US political consultants they hire, to the spoiled brat class of some (but not all) gringo expats in Honduras that repeated unsupported claims that a majority of Hondurans favor the coup, or support Micheletti, or oppose Zelaya’s return, now end with egg on their faces, their credibility shot. They just made it up and thought you would be gullible enough to believe them. But here we’ve given you, finally, the hard numbers, now available in full public view.
What’s more is that these results explain why the coup regime and its chambers of commerce and other big business organizations – the forces in the country that can afford to hire pollsters - have not released any of their own internal polling data to the public: Because they, too, know that a majority of Hondurans oppose them, and they are less popular even than the national nonviolent civil resistance movement that they treat with such disdain.