By Marianna Parraga and Andrew Cawthorne
CARACAS | Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:09pm EDT
(Reuters) - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds a large lead over opposition candidate Henrique Capriles less than four months before the South American OPEC nation's election, a new opinion poll showed on Tuesday.
The survey taken in May by respected local pollster Datanalisis found that 43.6 percent of voters favor Chavez versus 27.7 percent for the Democratic Unity coalition's candidate Capriles.
Chavez's 15.9 point lead was slightly smaller than a 17.2 point margin in the previous month's survey by Datanalisis.
The 57-year-old Chavez, who has been battling cancer for a year, remains popular in his 14th year in power due to his oil-financed welfare spending and his enduring emotional connection with the country's poor majority.