Survey Methodology

  Demographic profile of the respondents:

* Average age of respondents: Males 39 years and females 34 years, starting from 18 years
* Male-Female ratio: 50:50
* Rural-urban ratio: 65:35

The Daily Star has been carrying out opinion poll nationwide since 2009. The series began with the 100-day performance rating of the current government. This year The Daily Star engaged Centre for Strategic Research (CSR) to collect data on behalf of the newspaper.

The Daily Star and CSR followed internationally practiced research methodology in collecting data from randomly selected survey areas. For comparability with the previous surveys, same number of respondents was selected from the same survey areas under strict supervision and quality control measures.

The objective of The Daily Star Opinion Poll 2012 was to assess the performance rating of the government after four years in power,, gauge public opinion about various national issues and public image of different political parties and leaders. The study explored the general perception on politics in Bangladesh according to gender, age group, urban-rural and different constitutional setting, socio-economic and geographic divisions. It was also investigated people's perception and views about the upcoming national parliamentary election. To ensure that the sample properly represents all possible categories, respondents were selected from the following groups:

Urban and rural areas
Male and female population
Age 18 years and above

Study Design: The sample for the poll covered the entire population residing in private dwellings units in the country. Administratively, Bangladesh is divided into seven divisions. In turn, each division is divided into districts, and each district into upazila. The urban area is divided into wards, and mahallas. Each rural area in the upazila is divided into union parishad (UP) and into mouzas within UPs. Therefore, Primary Sampling Units (PSUs) were mouza in the rural areas and mohallah in the urban areas. From each PSU, required number of respondents were selected randomly. The list of mouzas and mohallas were procured from Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. Therefore, to capture overall picture of Bangladesh, the poll was carried out in 44 districts, covering all the 7 administrative divisions across Bangladesh. A target number of completed interviews with eligible adult population were set at 2,510 based on statistical estimation, both from rural and urban areas. The split among these areas were based on national rural-urban population distribution. The survey was quantitative in nature, interviewed at household level and the survey period was December 2012.

Who would win if elections are held today -- AL or BNP?

If an election is held today, AL will win more votes than its arch rival BNP. However, as the survey reveals, the gap between the two parties is now very thin although both parties have gained votes.

AL's votes increased to 42 percent from 40 percent last year. Its votes are basically hovering around its core votes as the last four surveys reveal.

BNP's votes increased to 39 percent from last year's 37 percent. It had significantly gained since 2010 mainly with swing votes (We consider the 'no response' segment as swing votes) which had dramatically fallen from 26 percent to 9 percent in 2011 and has risen by 1 percentage point in 2012, making for a total of 10 percent.

The real deciding factor will be this large segment of 10 percent who still remain undecided and did not respond to the question of who they would vote for if an election is held today. They are the swing voters who will act as the king makers.

Jamaat's votes decreased to 1 percent from 2 percent last year. There seems to be a shift in Jamaat's votes to BNP, thus making Jamaat less relevant to BNP in the next poll.

Jatiya Party's votes seem to have decreased marginally to 5 percent. However, Jatiya Party will have more bargaining power in alliance building, as the difference between the AL and BNP is narrowing.

People want caretaker back for fair polls

The voters do not support the cancellation of the caretaker government system as they feel it is essential for free and fair elections.

67 percent voters said they do not support abolition of the system and they also feel that free and fair elections are not possible under a political government. A minority of 26 percent supports the cancellation and also thinks political governments can hold free elections.


Skepticism about EC high

Since the next general elections were round the corner, it is important to assess how voters perceive the Election Commission. When asked, a very high 34 percent said the EC has lost its neutrality and 28 percent did not respond. 38 percent said the EC is doing its job properly. Like before, the rural people gave good scores to the EC.

Reflecting the above sentiments, it was found that a high 43 percent think the EC is unable to hold the next national elections properly against 34 percent who think it has the ability to do so.



More voters think country heading in right direction

After losing trust of the people following the election, the AL appears to have regained public confidence somewhat.

When the first survey was done within 100 days of its coming to power, 71 percent said the country is heading in the right direction. From such a zenith, this perception continuously waned to 41 percent last year. But this year, the government has gained as 46 percent think the country is moving in the right direction. On the other hand , the number of people who thought the country was moving in the wrong direction rose steadily to 45 percent last year. But this year, the number of pessimists has dropped to 42 percent.

The rural people overwhelmingly (51 percent) surpass the urban dwellers in taking favourable view of the situation.




Mixed feeling on economy

The percentage of voters who hold a positive view of the economy has slightly increased from last year's 31 percent to 34 percent this year. At the same time, those who think economy is heading towards a bad situation has decreased from last year's 39 percent to 33 percent. However those who do not find much encouraging signs have increased from 24 percent to 28 percent.

It was obvious that rural people hold (37percent) a much higher good perception than their urban (28 percent) counterparts.