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Quarterly Bulletin

The Asia Foundation Releases 2008 Afghan Public Opinion Poll

December 18, 2008 — LARGEST AND BROADEST SURVEY EVER CONDUCTED AT ONE TIME IN AFGHANISTAN REPORTS PUBLIC OPINION ON SECURITY, RECONSTRUCTION, AND GOVERNANCE.

On October 28, 2008, The Asia Foundation released findings from its most recent public opinion poll in Afghanistan, which covers the largest population sample ever surveyed at one time in all 34 of Afghanistan’s provinces. Afghanistan in 2008: A Survey of the Afghan People is the fourth poll conducted by the Foundation, which released previous polls in 2004, 2006, and 2007. Collectively, the four surveys establish an accurate, long-term barometer of public opinion to help assess the direction in which the country is moving in the post-Taliban era. A copy of the See full 2008 survey is available at: www.asiafoundation.org.

Despite slow and steady gains in amenities and services for Afghan citizens and signs of success in reconstruction efforts, the situation on the ground has grown increasingly difficult with significantly higher civilian and military casualties, severe food shortages, and rising inflation and unemployment. The survey captures opinions on reconstruction, security, governance, and attitudes toward government and informal institutions, as well as poppy cultivation, the status of women, the role of Islam, and the impact of media.

More than 6,500 adult Afghan women and men from different social, economic, and ethnic communities in rural and urban areas were interviewed for the survey by more than 500 Afghan men and women employed by the Afghan Center for Socio-economic and Opinion Research (ACSOR) in Kabul.

The survey report opens with findings on the overall national mood in Afghanistan in 2008, which states that 38 percent of Afghans think the country is headed in the right direction (compared to 42% in 2007, 44% in 2006, and 64% in 2004); 32 percent feel it is moving in the wrong direction (24% in 2007, 21% in 2006, 11% in 2004). The remaining 23 percent have mixed feelings. (Note: the 2004 sample size was 804 Afghans; since 2006, the sample size has been over 6,000.)

The 2008 survey, which was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development — was designed, directed, and edited by the Foundation. Similar surveys are planned for 2009, 2010, and 2011. Read more about the survey or download the full report, “Afghanistan in 2008: A Survey of the Afghan People.”

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