Asia Foundation Releases 2010 Afghan Public Opinion Poll

Kabul, November 9, 2010 — More than 6,000 citizens across all 34 provinces surveyed on security, development, economy, government, corruption, and women’s issues

The Asia Foundation today released findings from its most recent public opinion poll in Afghanistan, covering all 34 provinces in the country. Afghanistan in 2010: A Survey of the Afghan People is the sixth poll conducted by The Asia Foundation’s office in Afghanistan; previous polls were released in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. Taken together, the six surveys provide a barometer of public opinion across Afghanistan to help assess the mood and direction of the country. The fieldwork for the survey was conducted from June 18 through July 5, 2010, prior to the Parliamentary election in September. In-person interviews were conducted with a multi-stage random sample of 6,467 Afghan citizens 18 years of age and older, both women and men, from different social, economic, and ethnic communities in rural and urban areas.

The 2010 survey can be accessed in its entirety here.

In 2010, 47% of respondents say that the country is moving in the right direction. This figure has been increasing since 2008 (38%) and 2009 (42%). The proportion of respondents (27%) who say the country is moving in the wrong direction has fallen compared to 2008 (32%) and 2009 (29%). The remaining 22% have mixed feelings (23% in 2008 and 21% in 2009).

Security continues to be a major factor in the way respondents assess the direction of the country. The main reason cited for optimism continues to be the perception of good security, mentioned by 38% of respondents who say the country is moving in the right direction. This number has decreased from 44% in 2009.  Construction and rebuilding (35%), and opening of schools for girls (15%) are other factors cited for optimism in 2010.

However, insecurity is cited as the main reason for pessimism, cited by 44% of respondents who say the country is moving in the wrong direction, a slight increase from 42% in 2009. The proportion of respondents who identify corruption as a reason for pessimism has increased significantly to 27% in 2010 from 17% in 2009. The other main reasons for pessimism identified by respondents include poor government (18%) and unemployment (16%). This year, unemployment continues to be among the most serious problems at both national (35%) and local (26%) levels.

Expanding from its targeted scope in 2004, and building upon previous surveys conducted in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, the 2010 survey continues to track core areas of interests, while also adapting the questionnaire to the current landscape and strengthening methodology to address existing constraints and challenges. This is reflected in the current survey through a greater emphasis placed on the areas of development, parliamentary elections, reconciliation and negotiation efforts, and corruption.

The 2010 survey, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, was designed, directed, and edited by The Asia Foundation, with all interviews completed in person by 634 Afghan men and women employed by the Afghan Center for Socio-Economic and Opinion Research (ACSOR) in Kabul. Similar surveys are planned for 2011. The Asia Foundation has established a reputation for developing sophisticated empirical surveys for use across Asia in order to pinpoint citizen concerns and needs, to gauge public support and development progress, and to inform important policy debate.

The full survey, as well as key findings, FAQs, and Dari and Pashto translations of the key findings and press release are available here.

Related locations: Afghanistan