TODAY | October 07, 2012
>>> now to venezuela where voters are choosing their next president. the current leader hugo chavez is hoping for an unprecedented third term, but polls indicate he may be facing his stiffest challenge to date. kerry sanders is in the capital caracas with more. good morning, kerry.
>> reporter: well, good morning, chris. as we see our gas prices in the united states rising, the elections here in oil-rich vens venezuela takes on importance. at 6:00 a.m . the polls opened here and in this country twice the size of california there will be a 90% voter turnout today. venezuela is the fourth largest supplier of oil to the united states . and this kun are try has the largest oil reserves in the world. how different are things here because of that? wul into a gas station in venezuela and it takes less than $3 to fill up an empty suv. oil production in venezuela has dropped 30% in the last decade, one reason for our higher gas prices . oil industry experts say president hugo chavez , who has been no friend to the united states , has failed to invest in the oil industry that he nationalized in the early 2000s . challenging chavez is 40-year-old who is energetic and some say the sexy candidate. a sign that folks here feel the vote could be close and perhaps contested, grocery stores have been mopped as if residents are preparing for a hurricane. families are stalking up fearful that over election results there could be some sort of violence. in a last-minute statement from chavez, sort of surprising since he made the united states his arch enemy , he says on the u.s. election he hopes obama gets re-elected.