Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

Venezuela: Public Opinion and Protest in a Fragile Democracy

Damarys Canache
Venezuela: Public Opinion and Protest in a Fragile Democracy
ISBN: 978-1-57454-086-4
2002/186 pages/LC: 2001058699
Distributed for the North-South Center Press

"A valuable theoretical and empirical contribution to the study of citizen political support."—Charles L. Davis, Journal of Politics

"With this book, Damarys Canache establishes herself as one of the most skillful analysts of Venezuelan public opinion. She demonstrates that scholars should think about political support differently where democracy cannot be taken for granted. She also uses this insight to illuminate the bases of support for Hugo Chávez and the coups, riots, and protests that accompanied his rise to power."—Michael J. Coppedge


In this theoretically rich and methodologically sophisticated investigation, Damarys Canache examines the significance of public opinion in Venezuela during the tumultuous 1990s and establishes a new framework for the study of political support in fragile democracies.

Canache highlights the importance of mass attitudes regarding democracy as a form of government, showing that what people think about democracy is distinct from what they think about political institutions and incumbent leaders. Her analysis reveals that it was those Venezuelans who were uncommitted to democracy who expressed the strongest support for political violence in the 1990s and who provided an early base of mass support for Hugo Chávez.


Damarys Canache is assistant professor of political science at Florida State University. She is coeditor of Reinventing Legitimacy: Democracy and Political Change in Venezuela.


  • Fragile Democracy.
  • The Meaning and Measurement of Political Support.
  • Venezuela in Context.
  • The Antecedents of Political Support.
  • Social Influence and Political Support.
  • The Consequences of Political Support: Explaining Attitudes Toward Political Violence.
  • Conclusions.