More than three- quarters of the people in Bangladesh think that the January 5 general elections without the main opposition BNP’s participation will not be acceptable, according to a Dhaka Tribune opinion poll.
However, around 41% of the respondents say they will cast their votes even if it is not an inclusive election. Of them, 16.35% refuse to indicate which party they want to vote for.
The nationwide opinion poll based on interviews of 2,438 respondents of different ages, economic status and educational backgrounds also says had the BNP participated, the 10th parliamentary polls could have been a neck-and-neck fight between the two major parties – the Awami League having 36% support while the BNP enjoying 37%.
Interestingly more male voters indicate intention to vote for the BNP than the AL, while more women are interested in voting for the AL than BNP according to the survey that has error below 3%.
The survey was conducted between December 14 and 22 last year over mobile phones – a method which Gallup, a US-based performance-management consulting company, follows in such opinion poll.
Majority of the respondents (53.3%) say “no” in response to the question whether they will cast their votes if the BNP boycotts the polls whereas 40.8% voters reply in the affirmative.
Around 71% of the respondents say Bangladesh is heading towards a wrong direction, with 23.21% saying that the country is on the right track.
As many as 74% respondents are either satisfied or highly satisfied with the trial of the war criminals. More than 53% people have opposed the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami’s participation in the polls while 33.3% support the prohibition.
When asked which party they think would win in their constituencies if the BNP participated in the election, most respondents choose the BNP over the Awami League (44% to 38%).
“This points to a swing [of the voters] to the BNP from the last elections, fully in line with the history of anti-incumbent swings in the national elections,” says the survey.
Also, majority people think the current government is sufficient for holding a free and fair election. Just a little less than half of the respondents (47%) think the government is capable against nearly two in five (38%) saying “most likely not” or “definitely not.”
The survey also finds that if all the parties participate in the election, it seems in general that as income level goes up, the support swings towards the BNP.
The BNP support is relatively consistent across voters aged over 25, and markedly higher for voters aged 18-25 years. Conversely, while the Awami League support is similar to that of the BNP for voters aged between 25 and 50 years, it is markedly lower for voters of 18-25 years of age and higher for those of 50 years or more.
More male voters (37.6%) will vote for the BNP than the Awami League (34.8%) with the preference reversed for women (37.7% for the ruling party against 34.7% for the main opposition).
A survey questionnaire was prepared in early December. Each of the respondents was interviewed over telephone for five to seven minutes by trained
call centre advisers. Random mobile phone numbers were generated by a computer programme prior to making the calls.
Source: Dhaka Tribune