Recent optimism about government, leadership, and corruption may advance Haitian recovery
by Linda Lyons
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The percentage of Haitians who have confidence in their national government has nearly tripled since an earthquake all but destroyed their country two years ago. Nearly half (46%) expressed confidence in October 2011 — an increase of 30 percentage points since the last poll conducted in July 2010.
More Haitians are confident now than before the disaster, likely reflecting their hopes for the recent change in presidential leadership. Musician-turned-politician Michel Martelly swept to victory in a March 2011 runoff election, defeating former President Rene Preval, whom Haitians had little faith in even before the earthquake.
The World Bank’s World Governance Indicators have consistently ranked Haiti in the bottom 10% of all countries in government effectiveness, but Haitians’ perceptions of government institutions are clearly changing for the better — with some justifiable cause. Although the pace of development is relatively slow, the government is apparently being credited with moving new projects forward. The government has announced major projects in the provinces, such as an industrial park in northern Haiti that will employ about 25,000. The international airport in Cap-Haitien in the north is scheduled to open next year, and work is under way at the Cayes airport in the south, according to Raymond A. Joseph, former Haitian ambassador to the U.S.
Not only are Haitians’ opinions about their national government and leadership improving, they also regard local conditions more favorably. Approval of city leadership improved to 28% from 12% in 2010, and overall city satisfaction is up to 58% from 45% in 2010.
Haitians are also less likely to perceive corruption in leadership than they have ever been since Gallup started polling annually in the country. Currently, more than half of Haitians (57%) say corruption is widespread in the government, down from 70% between 2006 and 2010. Despite Haitians’ recent optimism in this regard, the World Bank’s World Governance Indicators continue to rank Haiti in the bottom 10% of all countries for control of corruption.
Martelly will need to capitalize on Haitians’ upswing in optimism toward government institutions by asking for their support as he seeks a legislature that will reinforce his economic proposals in the Senate elections later this year. In addition to natural disasters, Haiti has also been dogged by riots, coup d’états, and political instability throughout much of its history. A confident, optimistic public can enhance the prospects for sustaining momentum toward better governance and social harmony. Inarguably, Haitians continue to struggle for post-earthquake stability, but the latest Gallup findings show they are more likely than ever before to believe that it will happen.
For complete data sets or custom research from the more than 150 countries Gallup continually surveys, please contact SocialandEconomicAnalysis@gallup.com or call 202.715.3030.
Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 504 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted Oct. 23-28, 2011, in Haiti. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4.8 percentage points. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup’s Country Data Set details.