Another Poll

I’ve dissected several polls here at Babalu. They have all been polls of Cuban-Americans and generally they deal with U.S./Cuba policy and the embargo. But today a poll of Cubans on the island was released by an organization called The International Republican Institute.

The International Republican Institute (IRI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to advancing freedom and democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, good governance and the rule of law.

Anyway they conducted a survey of 584 Cuban adults in 14 of the 15 Cuban provinces. The surveys were conducted in the form of face-to-face interviews. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 4% with a 95% confidence level. These are generally acceptable in a survey of this type.
Of the survey respondents, only 25.2% said that in general things in Cuba are going well (15.4%) or very well (9.8%).
In contrast, 39.8% said things are going badly (19.8%) or very badly (19.8%).
The bulk of the balance say “so, so” (33.7%) with only 1.4% not answering.
When asked what the biggest problem in Cuba is the following were the top answers:
The interesting thing here is that economic issues rather than politics rise to the top. Of course we can argue that it one causes the other. Perhaps Cubans have become more comfortable with complaining about the outcomes rather than the perpetrators. Also more people in Cuba claim there is no problem than the claim that the embargo is the country’s biggest problem. I guess 49 years of hearing the repetition of that lie hasn’t made it a truth to them yet.
When asked if the current government will be successful in resolving the problem indicated over the next few years 78.6% said no. Obviously the Cuban people don’t have much faith in the regime to resolve the problems they consider to be to biggest facing the country.
The respondents were asked what type of government would be best help solve the problem indicated.
42.7% had no answer
32.1% answered that a democratic form of government would best solve the problem
11.5% answered any government but the current one
Notably only 3.6% answered with “socialist government”
One of the things that’s often put forward by some is that Cubans are afraid to lose the “gains made by the Revolution. Well it seems that theory is false based on the answer to this question: When you think about political changes that might transform the current system into a real democracy – with multi-party elections, freedom of speech and freedom of expression –do you believe that those changes will improve, worsen or have no effect on your life?
75.6% said such a change would improve their lives
10.2% said it would have no effect
and 14.2% said it would worsen it.
I can only guess that the 14.2% is made up of the ones that said Cuba has no problems and possibly people that are somehow connected to the regime.
The respondents were then asked about changes to Cuba’s economic system in this way: When you think about economic changes that might transform the current systeminto a market economy – with economic freedoms, private property and the possibility of Cubans having their own businesses – do you believe that these changes would improve, worsen or have no effect on your daily life?
83% said such a change would improve their daily lives.
7.4% said it would have no effect
and 96% said it would worsen.
90.8% of Cubans are aware of their unique situation in the world with only 9.2% saying that Cuba’s situation resembles that of other countries.
Another question had to do with Cuba’s sham electoral system: Regarding the upcoming elections, do you prefer the current system, in which all the candidates are of the same ideology, or would you prefer a different system in which you could choose among candidates from different parties?
76.3% said they’d rather choose with 23.7% saying they prefer the current system.
When asked if Cubans should decide who succeeds fidel, 73.9% said yes.
When asked if they had access to the internet and email the responded as follows:
63.2% said no access
27.4 said they had email but no internet
and 9.4% said they had both email and internet. I suspect that many of the ones who believe Cuba has no problems and that a political change in Cuba will make their life worse are represented in that 9.4%
90.1% said they do not use a cell phone. The balance of 9.9% is probably very close to the 9.4% that has internet and email access.
Despite all the propaganda and all the repression it’s obvious castro’s lies about the opposition in Cuba are just that, lies. The Cuban people would like changes to both the economic and political system. They may not be clear on what type of government they want but it’s definitely not socialist. The majority of the Cuban people believe their lives will improve if the systems are changed and want a multi-party election to select their next leaders.

7 thoughts on “Another Poll”

  1. Henry la gente no quiere encuestas en Cuba , lo que quieren es comer y ser libres
    Cualquier encuesta realizada en Cuba debe ser tomada con pinzas…
    En sociedades totalitarias no existe la libertad de expresarse para responder preguntas a encuestas
    Mi opinion es que esta encuesta esta 99.9 contaminada
    no tiene ningun valor ..Mi opinion personal

  2. what in particular is your problem with it? I mean which answers do you feel are wrong? It’s easy to say the poll is worthless but why? Do you think there is an overwhelming support for castro that the poll is not showing? Did you read the results or just decide you didn’t like the idea?

  3. Tocayo me referia a que dudo mucho que puedas obtener respuestas sinceras . Te daran las respuestas pero a medias…La cultura cubana no esta acostumbrada a opinar ” fuera de la linea del partido” y eso tardara tiempo en cambiar

  4. Recent Cuban arrivals tell me everything is going from bad to worse. The Cuban people need to take charge within a few months or may be locked in with Chavez and that will end the refugee program.
    People yearning for a free Cuba need to become more politically active soon or I fear we may see a another surrender.
    The Cubans have suffered for years and we cannot let this continue.

  5. This whole thing sounds very odd to me. Why would the Cuban government grant permission to this IRI to conduct a poll? Since when does the Cuban government care what the Cuban people think? Could it be that they were expecting the people to fall in line out of fear, then they could trumpet the results as “proof” that the people support the government? Or could the government be trying to figure out which direction to go in after Fidel kicks the bucket, out of fear of a counter-revolution? De verdad que no me lo explico.

  6. Abajo fidel makes a good point. The responses to the general question “what type of government would help solve the problem” were vague (43% had no answer) illustrate that a good portion of people didn’t want to give a straight answer, yet when asked if a change to a real democracy would improve their situation, 76 percent said yes.
    The poll is definitely revealing, no question. I don’t think Cubans are that naive to not know that a government that promotes freedom would help get them out of their hole. They are too used to beating around the bush, so to speak, before giving an answer.

  7. Robert, there’s a difference between saying that the poll reveals a lack of political formation or maturity (one would expect that) and discarding the results outright without looking at them closely. They certainly didn’t want socialism despite all the promises of socialism as they know it.

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