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IRI Poll Finds Liberians’ Concerns Go Unmet by Legislature and Political Parties

October 3, 2008

Washington, DC – IRI today released a poll conducted in Grand Bassa, Margibi and Nimba counties in Liberia between July 13 and 18, 2008.  The results indicate people are dissatisfied with the attention their government and political parties are giving to issues such as food scarcity, hunger and unemployment.  This is in contrast to the high job approval rating maintained by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (75 percent, 68 percent and 63 percent) and the feeling that the country is headed in the right direction (57 percent in Grand Bassa and Margibi, 52 Percent in Nimba).

When asked what the biggest problem facing the country was more than 50 percent of respondent in Margibi and Nimba and 60 percent of respondents in Grand Bassa said that they feel it is food scarcity and hunger.  This was followed by unemployment which was the top problem for 27 percent, 19 percent and 21 percent in each county respectively.

While political parties have high awareness ratings (90% percent in Grand Bassa and Nimba, 86 percent in Margibi), most respondents feel they spend too little time talking about the issues most important to them.  Fifty-seven percent in Margibi and 42 percent in Grand Bassa and Nimba think the parties spend too little time discussing how they would address the unemployment problem and 52 percent, 39 percent and 42 percent in each county respectively think parties talk about food and hunger too little.

The government doesn’t fair much better in responding to these issues.  Thirty-six percent in Grand Bassa, 20 percent in Margibi and 27 percent in Nimba think the government has done a good job in responding to unemployment.  Only 15 percent, 11 percent and 16 percent respectively think the government has done a good job solving the problem of food and hunger.

The optimism that has characterized the country since the 2005 elections remains.  Based on the experience in their communities, more than 50 percent feel that the situation in Liberia is improving and 65 percent to 68 percent feel Liberia is more democratic.

IRI analyzes the results gained through public opinion research in order to improve government’s ability to understand and address issues of importance to Liberian citizens.  The study was designed, coordinated and analyzed by American Viewpoint, Inc.  The margin of error for this study is +/- five percent in Grand Bassa and Margibi and +/- four percent in Nimba.  All margins of error are based on a 95 percent confidence interval.