IRI Poll: Public Increasingly Optimistic About Nation’s Future

Cambodians’ optimism about the welfare of the nation continues to rise across most economic strata, according to an opinion poll published Thursday by the US’ In­ter­na­tional Republican Institute.

However nearly half of those surveyed, 44 percent, felt lax law en­forcement and corruption threatened Cambodia’s wellbeing, while 16 percent fear poverty and the rising cost of living, the 22-province survey of 2,000 people found.

Three-quarters of those surveyed said the country was moving in the right direction – a 15 percent jump compared to the 2006 survey.

The survey, conducted in Au­gust, also found that 83 percent of respondents said they had confidence in the government.

Nearly half, or 44 percent, of SRP voters surveyed also had a positive outlook, according to the poll, which had a margin of error of 2.8 percent.

Seventy percent of respondents cited improvements in infrastructure as the reason for their optimism, while those who felt Cambodia was headed in the wrong direction cited corruption (29 percent), the high price of goods (25 percent), partisanship (20 percent) and poverty (17 percent).

While acknowledging that the results appeared to favor the ruling CPP, IRI Country Director John Willis said this could place more expectations on the party.

“People do seem to have rather high expectations for the future and if the expectations are not met in the next five to ten years, there could be a lot of disgruntled people,” he said.

Government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kan­ha­rith said the results showed the CPP is effectively relaying the public’s desires to national authorities.

“The strong point of the CPP is that the CPP members work closely with the public,” he said.

SRP leader Sam Rainsy said the IRI poll was broadly worded and reflected the public’s aversion to controversy.

“When you ask a question that concerns public order, people tend to display optimism, to go in the direction of what is perceived as good sense,” he said.

Sam Rainsy also said the poll’s interviews may have been carried out in the presence of local officials, a charge Willis denied.


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