(Mizzima) – A by-election political poll taken this week by Mizzima found that 60 per cent of the respondents planned to cast their vote for a National League for Democracy candidate. The poll was conducted by the Community Response Group in Rangoon.
Among the other findings:
– The races in the constituencies around Naypyitaw, the capital, appear to be tight because of the large number of government employees, many of whom are indebted to the government-backed United Solidarity and Development Party. (The USDP providing credit available for purchase of cell phones to the government employees appears to be a factor.)
- Respondents surveyed appear to believe clear progress has been made in Burma’s politics over the past year and the social-economic situation is improving.
- A high majority of voters say they understand the voting process (only the second election in 20 years).
- Around 70 per cent of men and women voters say they are aware of the policies of their favorite party and candidate
- Brochures (heavily distributed by the National League for Democracy party) appear to have informed many voters about the voting procedures and party policies.
- More than 90 per cent of voters age 18 to 25 appear to be ready to turn out in large numbers.
- The 18-to-25 age group sees the most improvement during the past year, while older voters see less improvement.
- Among ethnic groups, Indian, Chinese and Rakhine see the most improvement during the past year compared to Kayah, who see zero improvement.
- By occupation, taxi drivers, students and NGO staff see the most improvement over the past year.
The survey involved 362 respondents: 56 per cent male and 44 per cent female; of those, 40 per cent were between ages 40 to 60; 39 per cent between ages 25-39; 11 per cent ages 18-24 and 10 per cent 60 or older.
Among ethnic group respondents, Bamar accounted for the majority, numbering 291, followed by Kayin, 24; Chinese, 15, Rakhine 8, Indian 7, Mon 3, Chin 2; Shan 2; Kayah 1; and Kachin 1.
Asked are you aware of the election, 85 per cent responded “Yes”; 12 per cent, “Don’t know”; and 3 per cent “No answer.”
On whether they planed to vote, 85 per cent said “Yes”; 11 per cent, “No”; and 4 per cent, “Not Sure.”
Asked, “Do you know how to vote?” 84 per cent said “Yes”; 15 per cent said, “I don’t know.”
Asked to describe how they learned to vote, the majority named “Brochure,” “Constituent” and “Friends.” Television accounted for about 10 per cent and radio 5 per cent.
Asked if they knew the name of their candidate and party name, 87 per cent said “Yes,” while 13 per cent said, “No.”
A strong 78 per cent of the respondents said they knew about their candidate’s policies; 26 per cent said they did not know about their candidate’s policies.
Asked how they learned about their candidate’s policies, nearly 30 per cent said by reading a brochure; 28 per cent said from the candidate; 14 per cent said family; followed by media: television, 8.81 per cent and radio, 6.90 per cent; and other, 1.92 per cent.
Asked which political party they planned to vote for, 60 per cent of the respondents said the NLD party; 32 per cent, USDP; 6 per cent NUP and 2 per cent, No Answer.
Asked why they chose that party, 45 per cent said “party policy and candidate”; 23 per cent said “party activities”; 19 per cent said “qualification and capability of candidate,” and 13 per cent gave no answer.
Asked which party they believed would win the election, 58 per cent said the NLD; 31 per cent, USDP; 1 per cent NUP; and 10 per cent gave no answer.
Asked if they thought Burma had made positive changes, 42 per cent said, “Yes”; 31 per cent said, “No Answer”; 14 per cent said “No”; and 13 per cent said, “I don’t know.”
Fifty per cent of the respondents said they thought Myanmar politics had improved; 6 per cent said No; and 44 per cent gave no answer.
Fifty-one per cent of those surveyed were male, and 49 per cent were female.
A surprise finding: among respondents age 18 to 24 years old, 90.5 per cent said they planned to vote followed by age 60-plus with 85.4 per cent; ages 25 to 39, 85.5 per cent; and ages 40 to 60, 82.3 per cent.
The survey showed that the higher the education level attained, the larger the percentage of people who planned to vote, ranging from 100 per cent for people with post-graduate degrees to about 7 per cent for people who said they were illiterate.
Of the constituencies holding elections, 100 per cent of the respondents in Kawhmu (Suu Kyi’s constituency) said they planned to vote; other constituencies with 100 per cent were Poke Ba Thi Ri, Det Hi Na Thi Ri, Ma Yan Gone, Dedaye, which reflected a high number of government employees in the Nayphitaw area.
A breakdown by occupation, showed 100 per cent of students, government staff (current/retired) and taxi drivers planned to vote, followed by businessmen at nearly 100 per cent; followed by unemployed, housewives and farmers, all around 80 per cent.
Comparing their views on whether Myanmar has improved versus age groups, the younger the respondent age, the more improvement they saw: 52 per cent of respondents age 18-24 said, “Yes”; 46 per cent in age 25,-39; 39 per cent in age 40-60; and 29 per cent age 60-plus.
Comparing views on improvement versus gender, 58 per cent of males versus 42 per cent of females said they believed there was improvement; a breakdown of “No” showed 57 per cent male and 43 per cent female.
Among ethnic groups’ views of improvement, a majority of Indian, Chinese and Rakhine saw improvement, compared to Kayah, who saw zero improvement. Among the groups, 71 per cent of Indians saw improvement; 67 per cent of Chinese; 50 per cent of Rakine; Bamar, 44 per cent; and Kayin 38 per cent.
Comparing views on improvement versus education level, 57 per cent of respondents with higher education said "Yes" there has been improvement; 52 per cent of graduates; 33 per cent post-graduates; 37 per cent middle education, and 28 per cent primary education. Middle and primary education levels said they saw the least improvement.
Views of improvement versus occupation saw the most positive responses among the unemployed at 63 per cent; students at 67 per cent; NGO staff at 60 per cent; businessmen at 57 per cent; government staff at 49 per cent; and government staff retired at 31 per cent.
Again, age affected the belief that Myanmar socio-economic conditions would improve over the next three years: ages 18-24, 55 per cent responded “Yes”; ages 25-39, 53 per cent; ages 40-60, 47 per cent; and ages 60-plus, 39 per cent.
Progress over the next three years viewed by gender showed 57 per cent of males responding “Yes”; of those responding “No”, 59 per cent were male.
A breakdown of views about progress over the next three years by ethnic groups showed 100 per cent of Kayah said “Yes”; 86 per cent of Indian; 73 per cent of Chinese; 58 per cent of Kayin; 51 per cent of Bamar; 50 per cent of Rakhine.
Views of progress over the next three years and education level showed 59 per cent of respondents with higher education saying, “yes”; 54 per cent of graduates; 51 per cent with middle school; 46 per cent with primary education; and 22 per cent with post-graduate education.
Concerning progress over the next three years versus occupation, 100 per cent of taxi drivers saw progress; 66 per cent of businessmen; 63 per cent of farmers; 60 of NGO staff; 58 per cent of students; 48 per cent of government staff.
Gender versus "do you know your candidates policies" showed that women knew about policies slightly ahead of men, with women responding positively at 75 per cent followed by men at 73 per cent.
Breaking down age groups and how they learned to vote showed radio, TV and candidates were heavily favored by those between ages 25 to 60.