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The Asia Foundation Releases 2009 Afghan Public Opinion Poll

Kabul and San Francisco, October 27, 2009 — Citizens across all 34 provinces surveyed on security, reconstruction, and governance

The Asia Foundation today released findings from its most recent public opinion poll in Afghanistan, covering all 34 provinces in the country. Afghanistan in 2009: A Survey of the Afghan People is the fifth poll conducted by The Asia Foundation’s office in Afghanistan; previous polls have been released in 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008. Collectively, the five surveys establish an accurate, long-term barometer of public opinion across Afghanistan to help assess the mood and direction of the country. The fieldwork for the survey was conducted during June 17—July 6, 2009, prior to the national presidential election. In-person interviews were conducted with a multi-stage random sample of 6,406 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 2009 survey can be accessed in its entirety at www.asiafoundation.org.

The survey respondents pointed to insecurity—attacks, violence, and terrorism—as the biggest problem facing the country, followed closely by unemployment, a poor economy, and corruption. Findings also indicate that 42 percent of Afghans think the country is headed in the right direction (compared to 38% in 2008, 42% in 2007, 44% in 2006, and 64% in 2004); while 29 percent feel it is moving in the wrong direction (32% in 2008, 24% in 2007, 21% in 2006, 11% in 2004). The remaining 21 percent have mixed feelings (23% in 2008, 25% in 2007, 29% in 2006, 8% in 2004). (It is important to note that in 2004, the survey polled just 804 Afghans; all subsequent surveys have polled more than 6,000 Afghans.)

The 2009 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 648 Afghan men and women employed by the Afghan Center for Socio-Economic and Opinion Research (ACSOR) in Kabul. Similar surveys are planned for 2010 and 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, FAQ, and Dari and Pashto translations of the key findings and press release are available on our website.

About The Asia Foundation in Afghanistan

The Asia Foundation’s Kabul office was re-established in February 2002 to launch programs in areas vital to the political, social, economic, and intellectual development of post-Taliban Afghanistan. Since then, the Foundation’s Kabul office has assisted Afghans in their efforts to rebuild the country through the establishment of an interim government, the development of a new constitution, and the provision of support to implement national voter registration, civic education, media monitoring, and technical planning for the 2004 Presidential and 2005 National Assembly and Provincial Council elections. Since these elections, the Foundation has also been providing long-term critical support to key institutions within the executive branch of government at the central level. Other Foundation programs have focused on creating educational and training opportunities for women and girls, supporting development of higher education, and promoting exchanges to foster improved international relations.

For media inquiries, please contact Amy Ovalle at aovalle@asiafound.org, +1-415.743.3340 or Debbie Felix at dfelix@asiafound.org, +1-415-743-3318.

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