Good job, but short on votes
At first glance it looks like a paradox. The Awami League-led government receives a lot of laurels from voters on various issues including agriculture, power supply, delivery of public service and law and order.
But when it comes to voting, a majority 55 percent people said they would vote for the BNP, and only 28 percent said they would vote for the AL. Also a thinly higher percentage of people think the country is heading in the right direction.
A close scrutiny would reveal that the AL actually lost people's confidence in a few crucial issues such as governance and corruption. And this might have ultimately led them to abandon the AL and root for the BNP.
Chucking away the caretaker government system seems to be a big negative point for the government as an overwhelming 77 percent respondents feel the next election should be held under a caretaker government. This issue might have had the single biggest impact on pushing voters away from the AL.
This is how people's perception was reflected in the latest public opinion survey conducted by The Daily Star and Asia Foundation. The study was done on 1,400 people in 14 districts during the second and third weeks of September 2013.
Despite the adversarial political environment, a large 62 percent people believe the next election would be held in a peaceful manner with participation of all political parties. But what was interesting is that 35 percent voters seem disenchanted by the bipolar political system and they would like to see a third party in politics.
A significant 55 percent people said they have confidence in the government, which is a high figure for a government that is completing its term. However, 45 percent said they have low confidence.
On the question of which direction the country in heading, 47 percent think it is going in the right direction and 44 percent do not think so. These figures remained static from our last survey done in December last year.
Inflation remained a persisting problem with over 80 percent complaining about it.
But people were happy about improved power supply as 62 percent said the situation has improved. Eighty percent also said agriculture inputs such as diesel and fertiliser were available. As a result, a majority of 44 percent said agriculture activities have improved against 16 percent who replied in the negative.
On human rights front, about 50 percent of respondents stated that extrajudicial killings have decreased during the tenure of this government while 37 percent disagreed. This finding points to a perceived improvement in the human rights situation.
However, 43 percent of the respondents believe incidents of disappearances or intimidation of opposition members, political activists, labour rights activists and journalists have increased while 34 percent believe these have decreased. In the perception of people, therefore, political harassment continues in Bangladesh in violation of human rights.
The government also scored high in law and order as about 62 percent of respondents maintained that the extent of criminal activity is now lower (47%) or is about the same (15%).
However, when it came to corruption, respondents really flagged down the government with about 50 percent of respondents believing that corruption at the national level has increased compared to the situation under the previous elected government.