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Asia Foundation and Belun Release Third National Opinion Poll in Timor-Leste

Dili, June 30, 2014 — On June 27 in Dili, The Asia Foundation, in partnership with NGO Belun, released Timor-Leste Public Opinion Poll, its third nationwide opinion survey, to an audience of government officials, NGO, activists, academics, policy makers, and the media. Poll findings show that an increasing number of respondents (63%) believe the economic situation of their household has improved over the past two years (up five points since September 2013). This includes 54% of respondents who describe their economic situation as “a little better” and nine percent who say it is “much better.”

“We are conducting this survey as an important tool for government, policy makers and other stakeholders to listen to public opinion and aspirations. In a democratic country like Timor-Leste, Government and other development partners must work hard to do what people want to be done,” says Susan Marx, the Foundation’s Country Representative in Timor-Leste.

The survey also found that improvement of roads (46%) and access to clean water (33%) are the two main improvements people want to see in their area. Guteriano Neves, who presented his analyses during the presentation, stated: “Surveys like this can help us to evaluate policies that are being implemented in our society, and can act as a reference for public policy.” Dr. Therese Tam was also present to discuss the findings and shared her thoughts on the methodology used in the survey: “When we conduct research like this, we must do cross-tables for men and women so we can see their responses to issues such as national security, regional security and human security.”

Data for the survey was collected in March-May 2014 by NGO Belun in all 13 districts of Timor-Leste using multi-stage random sampling. With a total respondents of 820 adults, the survey yields a margin of error of +3.42% at 50% interval. This is the third in a series of nationwide opinion polls. Previous surveys were conducted in February-March 2013 and September-October 2013.

This bi-annual opinion poll provides a snapshot of national perceptions towards important issues including the performance of the government, the conditions in people’s local area, and people’s optimism for the future. By ‘measuring the pulse’ of the country every six months, this opinion poll provides valuable insights into the priorities and sentiments of the general public in Timor-Leste.

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