» Survey on public opinion should become one of the main factors while decision making in democratic country SIAR consult – исследовательско-консалтинговое агентство

Survey on public opinion should become one of the main factors while decision making in democratic country

                 Kyrgyzstan is democratic country, and democracy is, first of all, system of agreement of public interests, giving opportunity to take into account interests of different groups of citizens and public structures, excluding dictatorship.

               Unfortunately, distance between population and those who takes strategic decisions, influencing quality of our life, was rather tangible before.

               Today in difficult political and economic conditions of our republic, important strategic decisions should be taken by leadership of country with taking into consideration public opinion. Decisions  taken are very often apart from reality and true needs of our citizens, because public officers often do not possess information about moods in society or do not want to take into account public opinion, and it leads to protests and revolutions.

             Official referendums as respect of any public problem are held extremely seldom and are extremely expensive. It is more efficient and economically beneficial to find out moods in society with the help of surveys of public opinion among population.

             In the USA one of the reasons for development of country and democracy was that fact that almost all presidents of the United States of America took decisions taking into account public opinion. In particular, beginning of the last century was characterized by increase of demand towards changes of sentiments in population.  

            Forecasts of George Gallup and Elmo Rouper as respect of results of presidential elections came true accurately. In 1935 Gallop predicted that Theodore Roosevelt would win, having questioned 5 thous. people, who were selected on the basis of  strict criteria of demographic sampling. Fundamental principle of surveys, firstly realized by pioneers in this sphere in 1930-s consists in that more forecasts as respect of results may be received in the course of small sampling with definite characteristics rather than using large sampling with unknown characteristics.

             Later American authorities started to use services of sociologists in every political act, which was supposed to be realized. In other terms, politicians carefully traced public opinion while choosing any decision, avoiding unpopular among citizens. Most likely this is the reason for success and prosperity of American nation.

              Different surveys are held among population in Kyrgyzstan. Largest part of surveys has onetime character, has no systematization. It does not let trace dynamics of processes, to define clearly factors and trends, influencing public processes.

                Market of social surveys today is represented by fifteen agencies and companies,   part of NGOs also use these instruments in their activity. More than 200 sociological surveys are held on different themes among different layers of population per year.

               Surveys of public opinion are held under auspice of such international organizations such as Gallup, World Bank, ADB, USAID, IRI, NDI, UNDP, UNICEF and many others. In opinion of experts, state has not acted as direct client of such surveys.

              However, positive moves in this direction are outlined. So, range of factions of Jogorku Kenesh expressed interest to get acquainted with results of public opinion and invited research agency, NGO representatives, who acquainted deputies with results of survey and public hearings on situation in the south. Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic A. Atambaev in his interview dated 14 July, broadcasted by nation-wide channels, mentioned: «The main thing is that Kyrgyz citizens have a little hope for decent life and have some trust to acting power. The main thing is to keep this tendency …».  In this interview Prime – Minster referred to results of survey held by organization IRI «Knowledge, relations and awareness of population on political issues” where SIAR research&consulting  was responsible for data collection.

              As today in connection with political instability, actual issue is evaluation of power bodies work by population. SIAR held own surveys and some results of survey of public opinion of the dwellers of Bishkek on work of local self government bodies are given below. Evaluation of work of Mayor’s office and State Kenesh was held according to five score scale. One thousand interviewed citizens evaluated work of local power bodies for 6 months (period since October 2010 to march 2011). It is rather large sampling for Bishkek and it speaks about high reliability of data received.  Certainly this sampling includes all districts of capital, people of different ages and layers of population.

             City Council (Gorkenesh) Less than half of questioned respondents (42%) think that City council works bad or very bad. Every fourth respondent recognize activity of Bishkek deputies as satisfactory. Approximately the same number of participants of survey could not evaluate work of City Council and only less than 10 percent consider work of City Council as good. In a whole, dwellers of capital evaluated work of City Council as “bad”[1].  25% of respondents answered that they do not know anything about activity of City Council. It is sufficient part of population. How can we speak about support and trust to State Kenesh in this case!  It is entirely possible that this quarter may move to the number of people, who do not trust and support local deputies. It means that it is a signal for City Council to strengthen work of its press service and inform people more about what it does in order to improve life in the city. Citizens know less about what important issues they decide together with Mayor’s office, what has changed due to their decisions towards positive side.

Mayor. In this respect, judging by survey, activity of mayor differs beneficially[2]. Besides public speeches by Mayor citizens can see current repair of roads, water in irrigation ditches, lighting of streets, removal and movement of newsstands, work of street cleaners and etc. So, one third of respondents evaluates work of mayor’s office for “good” , 28%  of Bishkek citizens–  «fair» and every fourth–  «poor».  12 percent of respondents had difficulties in evaluating work of mayor’s office. It is possible that recent appearing of flowers in central highways of the city will affect opinion of citizens.

               If these bodies will periodically trace opinion of capital dwellers on their activity, take into account it in their further work, image and trust to these power bodies will be also changing. Trust of population should be deserved. And monitoring is an indicator of trust to power of any level.

               Kyrgyzstan chose way of parliamentary republic. Interests of our citizens are represented by deputies who have to evaluate carefully their supposed actions, taking into account opinion of their voters and tax-payers. It is necessary to work permanently on own political reputation, holding monitoring of public opinion. It is necessary to direct resources for improving image and not for bribery of votes.

       Method of survey: Personal interview in households in Kyrgyz and Russian languages. 
Sampling in Bishkek amounted to 1000 people, adult population at age from 18 years old and older. 
Method of occasional sampling was used for selection of households. The  Kish table  was used for 
sampling of respondents in household. Allowable error is less than 3 percent. 
Survey was held in April 2011.


[1] Respondents evaluated work of City Council and Mayor’s by scale from 1 (very bad) to 5 (very good).

Average indicator of work of City Council amounted to 1,7 points

[2] Average indicator of work by Mayor of Bishkek city amounted to 2,7  points.

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