Dhaka, Bangladesh – An IRI survey conducted in June 2015 found that despite a continuing partisan divide on electoral issues, the ruling Awami League government gained support among a majority of Bangladeshi respondents. The poll results also indicated positive public feelings about Bangladesh’s current economic position and optimism about both the respondents’ and the country’s economic futures. However, survey respondents cited corruption as their dominant concern.
Government Shores Up its Support
In the 18 months following Bangladesh’s parliamentary elections on January 5, 2014, support for the ruling government and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reached 66 and 67 percent respectively. Bangladeshis were increasingly optimistic about the prospects for the country, with 62 percent of respondents indicating they believed the country was headed in the right direction (up from 56 percent in a September 2014 IRI survey). Furthermore, 72 percent rated overall economic conditions positively, 68 percent felt security conditions were good in Bangladesh, and 64 percent were positive regarding Bangladesh’s political stability.
Sharp Divide Remains on Timing of Next Parliamentary Elections
The effects of the January 2014 elections were evident in the persistence of a sharp division regarding new elections – respondents were almost equally divided when asked about when they would like the next national elections to occur. Forty-three percent of respondents in the survey indicated a desire for new elections to be held immediately, similar to an IRI survey conducted in September 2014, when 40 percent stated they wanted immediate elections. Forty percent wanted the current parliament to fulfill its term, down slightly from 45 percent of respondents in September 2014.
Dominant Concern Over Corruption
With the decline of electoral violence and daily hartals, 24 percent of Bangladeshis cited corruption as the most important problem facing the country, nearly 10 points higher than political instability (16 percent) and security (15 percent), which were cited as the second and third most important problems facing Bangladesh. Though the government received positive marks on the whole, 47 percent of respondents do not see the Government as fully engaged in or capable of fighting corruption. Eleven percent of respondents said they had paid a bribe; more than half said they had paid at least 5,000 Bangladeshi taka (approximately $65). One-third of those who acknowledged making payments had paid the police or courts to obtain justice, 29 percent had done so for a license or permit and 25 percent had paid for job consideration.
These are among the findings of the latest IRI survey in Bangladesh, based on face-to-face interviews conducted with a randomly selected sample of 2,550 voting aged adults from May 23 – June 10, 2015. Conducted in cooperation with international research firm Global Strategic Partners, the nationally representative sample was drawn from all 64 districts in the seven divisions of Bangladesh. The margin of error for the aggregate sample does not exceed plus or minus two percent at the midrange with a confidence level of 95 percent.
IRI has conducted surveys in Bangladesh since 2008 to inform elections and civil society stakeholders on key electoral issues.