Dhaka, Bangladesh – A public opinion poll released today by IRI (PDF) reveals Bangladeshis are deeply concerned about the condition of their country and remain pessimistic about its future. In the latest survey, 59 percent said the country was headed in the wrong direction, compared to only 35 percent who reported they felt the country was headed in the right direction.
In particular, a majority are also pessimistic about the economy, 60 percent saying they believed it would get worse in the year ahead. The numbers were even higher concerning the issue of violence, as 71 percent said they believed it would worsen in the upcoming year.
Concern about Instability a Major Driver of Opinion
Although other factors are also involved, a major driver of these negative indicators is the political instability that has gripped Bangladesh. Eighty-six percent of those who said the country is headed in the wrong direction said it was due to political instability. Moreover, when respondents were asked to list Bangladesh’s top three problems, 39 percent declared political instability as their first choice.
Public Dissatisfied with Non-Participatory Elections
The recent parliamentary elections held on January 5, 2014, did little to inspire confidence that the political situation will stabilize. When it came to the credibility of the elections, 62 percent of respondents agreed that the results should not stand because not all parties participated. Moreover, nearly half (48 percent) said that they strongly agreed with the notion that election results should not count due to a lack of opposition participation. In addition, 52 percent of those polled do not support the decision by some political parties to boycott the January 5 elections. A majority of Bangladeshis also prefer scheduling new elections, with 57 percent calling for elections within six months; only 34 percent wanted the newly elected government to fulfill its entire term.
IRI’s survey was fielded from January 12-27, 2014. Respondents were a randomly selected nationally representative sample of 2,550 adults, 18 or older. The sample was drawn from all seven major divisions of Bangladesh. The margin of error for the aggregate sample will not exceed plus or minus two percent at the midrange in 19 out of 20 cases.
This survey was funded by the United States Agency for International Development and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. IRI has conducted surveys in Bangladesh since 2008 to provide stakeholders with information on the issues most important to Bangladeshis.