IRI Sierra Leone Poll Finds Dampened Enthusiasm for Country’s Direction Despite Personal Economic Optimism, Support for Democratic Governance

October 22, 2021
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Freetown, Sierra Leone – The third poll by the International Republican Institute’s Center for Insights in Survey Research in Sierra Leone finds that citizens are fairly evenly divided about the direction of the country despite strong personal economic optimism and support for democracy.

When asked about the direction of the country, 48% of Sierra Leoneans said it was moving in the wrong direction, compared to 45% who said it was moving in the right direction. This is a drop from IRI’s previous poll in December 2018 that found a clear majority, 54% believed the country was on the right path.

“After the 2018 elections, the people of Sierra Leone were pretty optimistic about the direction of the country,” said IRI Africa Director Gregory Kearns. “Even though positive feelings have not fallen dramatically since IRI’s last poll, the drop in trust towards most government institutions across the board indicates that this optimism may be levelling off.”

A strong majority of Sierra Leoneans also have a positive economic outlook for the next year. In total, 73% of Sierra Leoneans believe that the economic situation in their household will “improve a lot” or “improve somewhat” in the next 12 months.

“Despite the devastating impact of COVID-19, it’s reassuring that many people in Sierra Leone are feeling positive about their future personal economic wellbeing,” said Kearns. “This could be because the country is preparing for an election period during which we typically see increases in the number of development projects, but hopefully, it’s a sign that better days are ahead.”

The poll also showed that 79% of Sierra Leoneans believe that democracy is the best possible form of government. At the same time only 24% of the population believe that the national government is doing “a lot” or “enough” to address their needs.

Findings from the first and second polls can be found on IRI’s website.

Review the findings from the third poll >


This survey was conducted by Pan African Field Services on behalf of the Center for Insights in Survey Research. Data was collected throughout Sierra Leone from March 26 to April 26, 2021 through CAPI administered face-to-face interviews in respondents’ homes.

The sample consisted of n=1,526 adults in Sierra Leone, aged 18 and older. The response rate was 76% and the margin of error does not exceed +/- 2.5 points for the full sample.

The achieved sample was weighted for gender, age groups, and formal versus no formal education. The response rate was 76 percent. The margin of error for the full sample is ± 2.5 points at 95 percent confidence level. 

DISCLAIMER: This poll is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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