[News] Poll: Wide Majority of Hondurans Oppose Coup

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Oct 7 15:13:34 EDT 2009

Poll: Wide Majority of Hondurans Oppose Coup d’Etat, Want Zelaya Back

Posted by 
Giordano - October 6, 2009 at 9:19 pm

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 
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

TNS: 15.7

Abriendo Brecha: 10.7

Hable como Habla: 7.8

TVC: 7.3

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

National: 28.5

Democratic Unification: 1.4

PINU: 1.1

DC: 0.9

Independent Candidate: 2.9

None: 21.5

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.

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