"Chavez is not going to last forever, and the concern is always that given the tremendous polarization in the country, and tremendous rancor, there's always the potential you can't rule out for some instability and some violence," he said. "The discourse that Capriles used during the campaign, but especially after he lost, is very helpful to reduce those tensions and to point to a path of reconciliation, which is what the country will need to heal."
Even with the election results in, political uncertainty remains in Venezuela, with questions about Chavez's health lingering.
Over the past year, the 58-year-old leader has been visibly weakened by cancer surgeries and treatment. He has kept secret the kind of cancer he has and his prognosis.
In May, speculation intensified over who would succeed Chavez when he named 10 people to the highest circle of his advisers. But in July, he said he was cancer free. Since Sunday's vote, he has pledged to push forward with his socialist reforms in his next six-year term and "be a better president every day."
That hasn't stopped speculation that the situation could be more dire than the president lets on.
"Who knows how long it will be before the next presidential election, given the president's current health?" Johnson said.
No matter when the next election is, Johnson said that "going forward, it remains to be seen" whether Capriles will be able to win more support and maintain the opposition's momentum.
On Thursday, CNN affiliate Globovision reported that the opposition candidate filed paperwork to run in December's election for governor in the state of Miranda -- a post he held until February, when he resigned to run for president.
He will face former Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua, who has been a key member of Chavez's inner circle.