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Equatorian South Sudanese Feel Safer but Divided on Direction of Country

August 17, 2012

Juba, South SudanA new poll conducted by IRI found that despite favorable views toward their elected leaders and political parties, Equatorian South Sudanese—citizens who reside in the states of Western, Central and Eastern Equatoria—are divided on the direction of the country, with 49 percent responding that it is headed in the right direction.

Still, 80 percent of respondents reported having either a very favorable or favorable impression of the president.  Equatorians, similarly, gave favorable-to-very favorable reviews of their national assembly (65 percent) as well as state (58 percent) and local (68 percent) representatives.  Respondents also gave high marks to the country’s ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, with 79 percent reporting to have either a favorable or very favorable impression.

Equatorians’ views on the economy illuminate their fears of basic economic insecurity.  Eighty-four percent reported that the economy is headed in the wrong direction.  Seventy-one percent of respondents, moreover, stated that their family is unable to meet their basic needs.  When asked to predict their household income one year from now, a plurality (51 percent) predicted they would have less income.

On a positive note, a considerable majority (76 percent) of Equatorians responded that security in South Sudan had improved over the last year.  Still, cattle raiding and local crime remain the top two security concerns for most Equatorians, at 25 percent and 16 percent, respectively.  When asked to grade their government’s efforts to resolve local conflict in different areas of the country, 54 percent reported being either very satisfied or satisfied.

Although economic insecurity is a basic, everyday concern for most Equatorians, 49 percent support the government’s January 2012 decision to stop all oil production.  When asked whether the decision to stop production would affect the amount of services it can provide, 76 percent understood that it would.

The region-wide survey, fielded May 21 – June 15, 2012, serves as a follow-up to IRI's September 2011 national survey. The poll sampled 1,547 adults aged 18 and older throughout Greater Equatoria.  The study was organized and analyzed by Opinion Research Business, while the survey research was fielded by Samahi Limited, a private South Sudanese research consultancy.  The survey was administered through face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice: Juba Arabic, English, Bari, Zande and Toposa.  Margin of error did not exceed plus or minus 2.5 percent.

A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, IRI advances freedom and democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, democratic governance and the rule of law.  The Institute has worked in South Sudan since 2005.