Juba, South Sudan – Today, IRI released the results of the first-ever public opinion poll from the newly independent Republic of South Sudan, which separated from Sudan on July 9, 2011.  This unique poll, fielded September 6-27, 2011, assesses a range of issues related to democracy and governance, including: the general environment and government priorities; voting behaviors and attitudes toward democracy; attitudes toward women and general demographics of the people of South Sudan. 

The majority of South Sudanese feel that the country is headed in the right direction, and citizens overwhelmingly approve of their national government officials.  A notable 82 percent of respondents reported having either a very favorable or favorable impression of the president of South Sudan, as did 71 percent regarding the parliament.  Similarly, sixty-seven percent of respondents reported being very satisfied or satisfied with the performance of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, the country’s ruling party.

The poll also revealed that a majority (59 percent) of South Sudanese feel that their overall security situation has improved within the last year.  Crime and security – along with health – were listed as the most important issues facing the country; therefore, the general optimism regarding security is encouraging.  When asked about specific security concerns in their daily lives, however, respondents expressed that cattle raiding and local crime, 25 percent and 23 percent, respectively, were of the highest concern. 

Although poll responses suggest that South Sudanese women currently do not have societal equality, a majority of citizens appear to be willing to alter the status quo.  Seventy-nine percent of respondents indicated that women would make good legislators, and half of those surveyed believe that women should make up at least 25 percent of the government at all levels.  Most encouraging, 86 percent of respondents reported that it is likely or very likely they would vote for a woman in an election.

The nationwide survey sampled 2,225 adults aged 18 and older from all 10 South Sudanese states. The study was organized and analyzed by Pechter Polls, while the survey research was fielded with the assistance of Samahi LTD, a local South Sudanese survey/research firm.  The survey was administered through face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice: Dinka, Nuer, Juba Arabic, Classical Arabic or English.  Margin of error did not exceed plus or minus 2.1 percent.

A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, IRI advances freedom and democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, democratic governance and the rule of law.  The Institute has operated in Sudan and South Sudan since 2002.

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