IRI Sierra Leone Poll Finds Country Moving in Wrong Direction but Support for Women’s Political Participation and Democratic Governance is Strong

Freetown, Sierra Leone – The fourth poll by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research (CISR) in Sierra Leone finds that a majority of people believe the country is moving in the wrong direction but shows strong support for women’s political participation and democratic governance.

When asked about the direction of the country, 55% of Sierra Leoneans said it was moving in the wrong direction, compared to 41% who said it was moving in the right direction. This represents a continued slide from an IRI poll in December of 2018, which found that 54% believed the country was on the right path.

“It’s clear that the optimism that was felt after the 2018 elections continues to drop,” said IRI Africa Director Gregory Kearns. “National leaders must demonstrate more urgency towards meeting the needs of the people if they want to see that optimism return.”

Despite this negative outlook, the desire for expanding political inclusion and democratic governance is strong. Sixty-nine percent believe that more women are needed in national government positions. Additionally, 92% of people say that it’s very important or somewhat important to include all members of the country’s adult population in political decision making.

“It’s very encouraging to see that Sierra Leonians want more people to participate politically,” said Kearns. “A country can only reach its full potential when all voices are being heard.”

The poll also found that 85% believe that democracy is the best possible form of government for Sierra Leone. This represents a six-point increase from the previous poll.

Findings from the firstsecond, and third polls can be found on IRI’s website. In order to make the customized findings accessible to a wider audience, IRI has created an interactive dashboard featuring key data points from all four polls, along with options to filter data for specific groups of interest. The dashboard and accompanying instructional video are available below.


This survey was conducted by Pan African Field Services on behalf of the Center for Insights in Survey Research. Data was collected throughout Sierra Leone from December 16, 2021, to January 16, 2022, through CAPI administered face-to-face interviews in respondents’ homes.

The sample consisted of n=1,534 adults in Sierra Leone, aged 18 and older. The achieved sample was weighted for gender, age groups, and formal versus no formal education. 

The response rate was 77% and the margin of error does not exceed +/- 2.5 points at the 95% confidence level.

DISCLAIMER: This poll is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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