Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has a 16-percentage-point lead over opposition candidate Henrique Capriles ahead of an election in October, a new opinion poll showed on Tuesday.
The survey by respected local pollster Datanalisis found that 43.6% of voters favour Chavez, versus 27.7% for the Democratic Unity coalition's candidate Capriles, according to one person who viewed the privately commissioned poll.
It said the portion of undecided voters had declined slightly in May but still stood at a substantial 28.7% meaning there is a lot left to play for. The new Datanalisis survey was in line with most of the country's best-known pollsters, who give Chavez a double-digit lead with less than four months left until the ballot.
After three operations to remove two cancerous tumours in the last year, and lengthy absences in Cuba for treatment, Chavez has returned to the public limelight in the last two weeks with regular appearances on state TV and in public.
Although he is not walking much in public, he insists he is recovering and that he will crush Capriles on election day.
Capriles says the opinion polls are skewed and that his nationwide house-by-house campaign is gathering steam and putting him on course to unseat the socialist leader.
The Datanalisis poll showed Capriles up two percentage points from the previous month's survey and Chavez up 0.7 percentage points.