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:
LOW SALARIES, HIGH COST OF LIVING: 42.5%
LACK OF FREEDOMS, POLITICAL SYSTEM: 18.2%
FOOD SCARCITY: 11.6%
NO PROBLEM: 6.3%
EMBARGO, ISOLATION: 4.8%
LACK OF HOUSING, POOR HOUSING CONDITIONS: 3.8%
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.