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Last Poll: Chavez’s popularity is going down in Venezuela.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez speaks with members of the media after a meeting with Colombia's Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, Aug. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano) (Fernando Llano - AP)

President Hugo Chavez’s allies launched their campaigns Wednesday for crucial congressional elections that come just as recession, crime and inflation have pushed the socialist leader’s popularity to a seven-year low.

A survey by Venezuelan polling firm Consultores 21 found that just 36 percent of Venezuelans approve of Chavez’s performance, the lowest figure since 2003, when Chavez survived an opposition-led strike that devastated the economy, pollster Saul Cabrera said.

The results suggest Chavez allies could face a difficult struggle to keep control of the National Assembly in Sept. 26 elections.

The survey of 1,500 people nationwide in late June and early July had a 2.3 percentage-point margin of error, said Cabrera, who is vice president of the polling firm. He said the poll was financed by…read more here