On the latest poll
The latest installment of the Daily Star – Nielsen poll is out.
Summary: Awami League has lost popularity since January (when the last poll was done) on the back of worsening power situation and rising prices, but BNP yet to benefit significantly.
Full details are here, while some salient points are over the fold.
Before going to the results — Daily Star ought to be congratulated for sticking with these polls, and hopefully their competitors will do better with quarterly surveys.
All results are expressed in fractions as polls like this have a margin of error.
1. If an election was held in early August, AL would have won about two-fifths of the votes, against BNP’s fifth. A quarter had ‘no response’.
The poll doesn’t distinguish between likely voters and people unlikely to vote. Assuming that the two groups aren’t different in their support (or that everyone surveyed will vote), this result is significant because two-fifths was about what AL got in 2001.
That is, one way to interpret this result is, AL is back to where it was in 2001 — the swing it got (whether from new voters or people who switched to their side) in 2008 is gone.
But BNP shouldn’t be too joyous about it. In 2008, it pulled a third of the voters. Now it’s down to a fifth.
So both AL and BNP lost support. The question going forward is, what will the quarter ‘no response’ folks do? Will they support a third party, and allow AL an easy re-election? Or will BNP be able to convince these folks to come over to its side?
2. The falling support for the government is reflected in the right track – wrong track question. In January, three-fifths believed the country was heading in the right direction, while one-fifth thought it was heading in the wrong direction. Now only half believes right track, while a third has chosen wrong.
So why the blues?
Prices continued to top the list of issues of concern, with slightly less than a third saying this was their top priority (unchanged from January). Power and gas came second, with a quarter noting this as their top issue (only about a twentieth listed this as their top issue in January).
3. ‘We will keep prices low’ — this was an unequivocal campaign promise by AL in December 2008. And according to political analysts, this promise, backed up by stable prices in its last term, produced huge political dividends. Well, that may be over.
Even back in January, half of those surveyed thought the inflation situation was ‘poorly managed and dissatisfied’, against about two-fifths who said ‘well managed and satisfied’. Now about three-fifths say ‘poorly managed and dissatisfied’, while less than a third respond ‘well managed and satisfied’.
I can’t tell you the latest inflation figures, because BBS is too afraid to publish it (a post on it later). But it’s clear that people know, and they are unhappy.
4. When it comes to power, public dissatisfaction with the government is even starker. About two-fifths believe ‘no initiative taken’ by the government to resolve the crisis, while another third say ‘no adequate initiative have been taken’. Only one in five believe government is doing enough.
Clearly, continuing to blame BNP isn’t enough.
5. Interestingly, over half of those surveyed believed the law and order situation has improved under the current government, against a quarter who thought it has worsened. While in January even more people believed the law and order situation had improved under this government, the latest figures continue to suggest the law and order situation might not be as bad as one might think from casual media glance.
Also, about two-fifths had no opinion about the role of Bangladesh Chhatra League — the ruling party backed student organisation embroiled in criminal activities around the country.
6. More worryingly, nearly half the people believed the judiciary is ‘politically biased’, up from slightly over a quarter in January, with over a third believing that ’the government is serving own interest and withdrawing their cases’. With legal circus like this, it’s easy to see why people feel this way. And while this assault on judiciary might not hit the people’s lives as directly as high prices and power failure, the damage being done to our Republic is as bad as what happened under the military governments.
7. While the pundits are debating secularism, nationalism, return to the 1972 constitution, end to military takeover, a whopping three-fifths have no opinion on the subject matter.
Could there be a bigger disconnect between the punditry and the public?