New Survey Research for Bangladesh Shows Dissatisfaction with Country’s Direction, Support for Prime Minister Hasina, Calls for Caretaker Government.

92% of Respondents Said They are Likely to Vote in the Next National Election, Support for Opposition is Growing

Dhaka, Bangladesh – A new nationwide poll and focus group study in Bangladesh by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research (CISR) shows growing concern about the country’s direction. Ahead of this winter’s election, the government has retained public support, but the opposition’s popularity is growing and its calls for a caretaker government are breaking through. 

For the first time since 2014, IRI’s survey shows that a majority of Bangladeshis believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. Only 44% say Bangladesh is headed in the right direction, down from 76% in September 2019. Rising prices are the primary reason for this rise in pessimism. A focus group participant said, “My husband’s salary did not increase, but the price of daily commodities is increasing daily.”

Most Bangladeshis approve of Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina and the government’s performance on a range of issues, but the opposition is gaining strength.  Seventy percent of Bangladeshis approve of Hasina’s performance, but approval of the opposition has risen from 36% in September 2019 to 63% in this poll.

Bangladeshis are interested in voting in the next national election if electoral transparency and fairness are improved. Ninety-two percent of respondents said they are likely to vote in the next national election (57% answered “very likely”). Those who do not intend to vote cite election fraud and voter registration issues as key barriers to voting. A plurality of 44% support the return of Bangladesh’s caretaker government election system, but a majority also believe the opposition should join the election regardless of election administration.

“It is encouraging to see public support for free, fair, and competitive elections,” said IRI’s South Asia Director Steve Cima.  “These findings underscore the fundamental desire of Bangladeshis to have a real choice at the ballot box this winter.”

Bangladesh is expected to hold national elections by January 2024.


The survey was conducted on behalf of IRI’s Center for Insights in Survey Research under the supervision of Redstone Scientific between March 1 and April 6, 2023. Data was collected using a multi-stage stratified probability sample through in-person, in–home interviews. The sample consists of 5,000 respondents aged 18 and older and is representative of voting-age adults nationally. The sample was distributed into 500 primary sampling units (PSU) from all 64 districts of all eight divisions. The margin of error does not exceed plus or minus 1.4% for the full sample, and the response rate was 47%.

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