"What's generating this political crisis is the deterioration of the economy," said Diego Moya-Ocampos, a senior political risk analyst for IHS, a Colorado-based research firm. "As the economy keeps deteriorating, the political stability will keep deteriorating."
Still, "support [for the opposition] would not necessarily translate into the number of seats won by the opposition," said Jason Marczak, deputy director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank.
Maduro's party has been able to gerrymander the districts so that the ones where it's strongest hold the most seats, Marczak said. Nonetheless, the coming elections will serve not just as a gauge of Maduro's popularity, but also his ability to continue Hugo Chavez's legacy, Moya-Ocampos said.
"If he doesn't show he has the capacity to keep the different 'Chavismo' factions unified, then you're going to see more noticeable divisions [within the party]," he said.
"From where Maduro is sitting, the ideal result would be to hold on to his majority in Congress or, if he loses the majority, to only lose it by a little bit. You have to remember that, depending on how many seats the opposition gets, they could get some real congressional power," Thompson said.
An opposition win could, however, would compel Maduro and his party to try and undermine the vote, Marczak said. "Maduro is known as someone who doesn't like to give up power."