IRI Poll: Majority of South Sudanese Believe Independence has Made Their Lives Better

Juba, South Sudan – IRI has released the results of its second national public opinion poll in South Sudan.  The poll revealed that 64 percent of respondents felt their life today is either better or much better than it was before the country became independent two years ago.  Sixty-eight (68) percent of respondents remained satisfied or very satisfied with the performance of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement as the country’s ruling political party.  Another 71 percent of respondents said they had a very favorable or favorable impression of President Salva Kiir, a slight dip from 82 percent in September 2011.  

For the first time, the majority of South Sudanese (52 percent) feel that the country is heading in the wrong direction, citing: crime and security, food shortage/famine and poverty/destitution as key problems facing the country. 

Food shortage/famine remains the primary concern for citizens in their daily lives, as it did in September 2011.

A notable 82 percent of respondents said they felt the impact of the Government of South Sudan’s decision to shut down oil production, the country’s largest revenue source, from January 2012 to April 2013, following a dispute with Sudan.  Fifty-four (54) percent of respondents disagreed with the government’s decision, and 90 percent of those polled believe that the resumption of oil production would improve their lives.

As South Sudan begins its multi-year process to draft and pass a permanent constitution, IRI’s survey found that 56 percent of respondents have no knowledge of the constitutional process and 59 percent of those polled have heard nothing from the government institution that will be in charge of drafting the new constitution.  Yet, almost a majority of respondents – 49 percent – felt that citizens are the most important group to consult with during the constitutional drafting process, with the next most important sector being government officials. 

The nationwide survey, fielded from April 24 – May 22, 2013, sampled 2,533 adults aged 18 and older from all 10 South Sudanese states.  This poll assesses a range of subjects related to democracy and governance, including: the general environment, the economy, service delivery, attitudes towards government, peace and security, attitudes towards women, constitutional issues and perceptions of political parties.  The study was organized and analyzed by Opinion Research Business, while the survey research was fielded by IRI.  The survey was administered through face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice: Bari, Classical Arabic, Dinka, English, Juba Arabic or Nuer.  Margin of error did not exceed plus or minus 1.9 percent.

This is the third poll in a series of polls the Institute plans to conduct in the country – IRI conducted its first national public opinion poll in South Sudan in September 2011, and a regional poll in June 2012 focusing on the Greater Equatoria region of the country.

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