2/3rds of Nicaraguans support leftist Sandinista Front: Poll debunks 'dictatorship' lie

While the US and EU absurdly smear Nicaragua as a "dictatorship" and impose sanctions on it, polls show 2/3rds of the population support the revolutionary Sandinista Front and President Daniel Ortega.

MANAGUA, NICARAGUA — If you only listened to corporate media reporting, you would think Nicaragua is a hellish dystopia. Western governments and their stenographers in the press preposterously claim that the country’s leftist Sandinista government is a “dictatorship,” and an “authoritarian regime.”

Of course, mainstream reporters never talk to average working-class Nicaraguans (as I do often in my reporting at The Grayzone). Instead, they act as mouthpieces for the Central American nation’s small class of wealthy oligarchs, who despise the socialist-oriented Sandinista National Liberation Front for taking away their unearned, inherited privileges.

Actual polling on the ground in Nicaragua, however, shows that the ruling Sandinista Front is quite popular, consistently enjoying the support of roughly two-thirds of the population.

The right-wing opposition, on the other hand, has the support of just around one-fifth of the population. This is the despite the fact that it receives tens of millions of dollars in funding from the United States and European Union, and dominates the media, business sector, academia, and NGOs.

The Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) overthrew Nicaragua’s US puppet dictatorship in 1979, and governed until 1990, when it lost power in an election that was essentially stolen by Washington. But the Sandinistas didn’t give up; they organized in poor and working-class barrios and came back to power through democratic elections in 2007, and have governed Nicaragua since.

The leading polling firm in Nicaragua, M&R Consultores, conducts regular studies that show the Sandinista Front to have a solid support base of 60-70%.

M&R Consultores is independent, not affiliated to any political party. It used to be regularly cited by mainstream media outlets like Reuters, but they began to ignore its polls when they became too inconvenient for Nicaragua’s US-backed right-wing opposition.

Between August 3 and 9, M&R conducted a comprehensive survey (PDF) in the departments across Nicaragua. The poll has a sample size of 2000 and a margin of error of +/- 2%.

It found that, in the lead-up to Nicaragua’s national election this November, a majority of people support the government, have confidence in the electoral process, and support the Sandinista Front.

66.6% of Nicaraguans say their country is better with a Sandinista government, whereas just 10.9% believe it is better with the right-wing opposition governing.

76.8% said the current government of President Daniel Ortega respects fundamental human rights and civil liberties.

When asked how they would rate the government on a scale from 1-100, where 1 is as bad as possible and 100 is as good as possible, Nicaraguans gave the Sandinista government a 70.2 rating.

The poll clearly debunks the claim that Nicaragua is a “dictatorship.”

Overall, 69.5% of Nicaraguans lean toward the Sandinista Front, and more than 69% have confidence and hope in the party.

On the other hand, just 26% lean toward the opposition and have confidence and hope in it.

In terms of the actual ballot box, 60% definitely plan to vote for the Sandinista Front this November, and 14.6% definitely plan to vote for the opposition.

One-fourth of participants were indecisive or did not disclose their voting intention.

The survey also studied the gray areas, of how strongly or softly Nicaraguans support these political factions.

It found that the Sandinistas can count on roughly 66.7% of the vote, with 42.4% staunch support, 17.4% soft support, and 6.9% that leans toward them.

The right-wing opposition, on the other hand, can count on around 20.5%, with 3.9% staunch support, 13.6% soft support, and 3% wiggle room.

As for how Nicaraguans politically identify, 57.9% openly call themselves Sandinistas, whereas just 7.5% identify with the right-wing opposition.

A solid one-third, 34.6%, consider themselves to be independents.

Of the 7.5% who identify with the opposition, just 2.9% align themselves with the right-wing Ciudadanos por la Libertad (Citizens for Freedom) party, 2.5% with the neoliberal Partido Liberal Constitucionalista (Constitutionalist Liberal Party), and a mere 0.4% with the ultra-elite Partido Liberal Independiente (Independent Liberal Party).

The survey also found that Nicaraguans have a high degree of confidence in their electoral system.

Despite claims by Global North governments and media outlets that Nicaragua is a “dictatorship,” 85.7% of Nicaraguans believe their vote is “very important” in elections. 6.4% say it is somewhat important, and a mere 7.9% believe it doesn’t matter.

Similarly, nearly 80% of Nicaraguans say they feel enthusiasm for the November election — 23.8% have a lot of enthusiasm, 41% have moderate enthusiasm, and 12.8% have some enthusiasm.

Just 10.8% have low enthusiasm, and 11.7% have zero enthusiasm.

What a strange “dictatorship.”

Moreover, 60.3% of Nicaraguans say they are satisfied with the functioning of their nation’s democracy, while 27.4% are not satisfied.

But I guess a bunch of coup-plotting bureaucrats in Western capitals who insist that Nicaragua is an “authoritarian regime” — and who studied at Ivy League universities, live in elite bubbles of privilege, and have often never even been to Latin America — know more Nicaragua’s democracy than the Nicaraguan people themselves.

The poll shows that 65.3 % of Nicaraguans believe the most important thing in a democracy is not that the people running the government regularly change, but rather that “the people have real opportunities to improve their quality of life.”

This shows that Nicaragua has a much more mature understanding of democracy than many Global North bourgeois societies, where democracy is taken to mean that you vote every four or five years for a new figurehead who implements the exact same policies in support of corporations, elites, war, and empire. In those “democracies,” the faces change but the anti-poor, pro-rich policies never do.

Finally, the survey asked Nicaraguans what kind of economic policies they support, divided between progressivism or neoliberalism.

85.3% support the government’s subsidies for people to buy houses, with 14.7% in opposition.

77.2% support taxes based on how much you earn, whereas 22.8% oppose them.

97.4% support the government’s electricity subsidies, with 2.6% opposition.

97.9% support the government’s water subsidies, with 2.1% opposition.

97.6% support the system of free universal education, while 2.4% want to re-privatize it.

And a whopping 98.6% support the system of free universal healthcare, whereas just 1.4% want to re-privatize it.

M&R Consultures concluded surveying electoral participation. 78.5% of Nicaraguans said they plan to vote in the November election, whereas 21.5% said they do not plan to vote.

That is significantly higher voter participation than in US elections, which are taken to be the world’s grand model of bourgeois democracy.

In short, this study has shown what poll after poll has consistently demonstrated for years: roughly two-thirds of Nicaraguans support the Sandinista Front, President Ortega, and the government’s leftist policies. On the other side, just around one-fifth of the population backs the right-wing opposition.

These two-thirds represent the main base of working-class and poor Nicaraguans, whereas the one-fifth represents the country’s wealthy elites.

The US government, the European Union, and their de facto spokespeople in the corporate media have tried to discredit Nicaragua’s November election months before it even takes place by falsely claiming that President Ortega imprisoned his opponents.

In reality, the government detained the leaders of a brutally violent coup attempt, who are now facing consequences for their crimes.

No other country on Earth could allow criminal coup-plotters to get away with zero consequences for trying to violently overthrow the government. But Nicaragua is expected to do so, because the United States funded and sponsored those coup leaders.

So Washington created an entirely new concept, claiming they were so-called “pre-candidates,” to falsely accuse Nicaragua of arresting presidential candidates.

In reality, there is no such thing as a “pre-candidate”; it does not exist as a legal category. The coup leaders arrested were not candidates.

But Washington and Brussels have been desperate to reassert control over Nicaragua ever since the Sandinista Front came back in 2007.

The United States has directly invaded Nicaragua three times, and endlessly meddled in the nation’s internal affairs. Washington will never be content until its neocolonial puppets are back in power.

It just has one small problem: polls like these show a majority of Nicaraguans support their Sandinista government and oppose these US puppets. And as history has shown, Nicaraguans are willing to fight to defend their sovereignty.