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IRI Poll: Cubans’ Confidence in Government Continues to Fall

November 17, 2009

Spanish Version

Washington, DC – A year-and-a-half after Gen. Raúl Castro assumed the presidency of Cuba, more than four in five citizens on the island (82 percent) do not believe things are going well, according to a recent survey (Spanish Version) sponsored by IRI.  The survey, which was fielded on the island last summer, showed a vast majority of Cubans would vote for fundamental political change (75 percent) and economic change (86 percent) if given the opportunity.

“The data reveals Cubans’ strong dissatisfaction towards its leadership and their indisputable preferences for political and economic change,” said Lorne Craner, President of IRI.

Other significant findings from the IRI survey:

  • Cuban citizens continue to be more likely to name economic issues among their greatest concerns, with more than one-half of Cubans (52 percent) citing worries about low salaries, high cost of living and challenges with the island’s double-currency system
  • Almost exactly two-thirds (66 percent) of Cubans do not believe that their government will succeed in solving Cuba’s most pressing challenges
  • One in five Cubans cited food scarcity as their biggest concern (20 percent).
  • Approximately 77 percent of Cubans say they have been affected by the Cuban government’s recent cutback on ration card dispersements – nearly one-in-three Cubans (30 percent) say they have been very negatively affected
  • In terms of property rights, more than nine-out-of-ten Cubans (91 percent) support the ability to freely purchase and sell their homes, a right that is not currently afforded to them.
  • Overall the number of Cubans who make cell-phone calls increased ten percent since November 2008, while the number of Cubans sending and receiving email grew by 23 percent over the same time period.

“The data on cell-phone- and email use is encouraging,” said Craner.  “Not surprisingly, those people with more access to information and communication tend to be the most critical of the Cuban government, and the ones with the largest appetites for reform.”

The survey was fielded on the island from July 1-August 4, 2009.  A total of 432 Cuban adults were asked questions ranging from perspectives on the economy, to the performance of the current Castro government.  The survey has a margin of error of +/- five percent, and a 95 percent level of confidence. The survey was conducted in 12 Cuban provinces.