Dhaka, Bangladesh, November 6, 2013 — In September 2013, The Asia Foundation in Bangladesh and leading English-language Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star, carried out National Public Perception Study, a nationwide survey on citizens’ perceptions of the current economic, social and political environment.
To understand where citizens stand on key issues in advance of the January 2014 Bangladesh national election, the Foundation and The Daily Star implemented a rapid assessment of citizen perceptions based on a national survey of Bangladeshi citizens of voting age. The survey was conducted in 14 districts of the country (two in each of the seven divisions) and gathered impressions from a cross-section of ordinary citizens, civil society representatives, local businesspersons, and (non-political) elites through individual interviews in each district headquarters and a proximate rural upazila in the same district. The sample included 1,400 respondents and the effective weighted sample comprised 1,054 rural (75%) and 346 urban (25%) respondents, of which 701 were males and 699 females.
Key findings of the survey include:
- A majority of respondents (55%) believe that the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) will win the next election.
- At least 10 percent of the population identified poverty, the ongoing national political conflict, hartals and political violence, high and rising food prices, unemployment, and corruption among the five major problems facing Bangladesh today.
- Forty-seven percent of respondents think the country is going in the right direction.
- A large majority of respondents (77%) think that the next election should be held under a neutral caretaker government as in previous elections.
- More than 30 percent of respondents say the government appears to have been successful or highly successful in improving education and health facilities and services, increasing availability of pure drinking water, improving the quality of services provided by government offices at upazila/district levels, ensuring adequate fertilizer availability, and building or improving infrastructure.
- Over 60 percent of respondents both in rural and in urban areas said that electric supply has increased compared to the period under the previous elected government. Over 50 percent of respondents in both rural and urban areas think that government is taking adequate steps at the national level to meet power supply needs.
- Forty-four percent of respondents said agricultural activities have grown during the tenure of this government.
- About 62 percent of the respondents maintained that the extent of criminal activity is now lower (47%) or is about the same (15%). In urban areas, however, 51 percent of respondents say criminal activity has increased while 49 percent say that it is about the same or lower.
- Respondents identified leading problems facing women as domestic violence, lack of jobs, social barriers, sexual harassment, and low education levels.
- Citizens’ confidence in the government is based on how its activities have improved their lives, and is based on their assessment of a combination of factors. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they have reasonable or high confidence, while 45 percent said they have low confidence.
Read more about the survey in an upcoming edition of our In Asia blog.