Centre for Policy Alternatives on 3 April, 2017

Opinion Poll on Constitutional Reform – Topline Report

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3 April 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Centre for Policy Alternatives’ latest opinion poll on constitutional reforms reveals that only 1.1% of Sri Lankans believe that the government’s performance since January 2015 has been excellent and does not need any improvements. 42.3% said that the performance has been good but the government needs to show better results. 23% believe that the government’s performance has been bad but that it should be given more time to deliver results. 16.5% think that the performance has been very bad and that the government should be voted out as soon as possible.

When asked how successful the government has been in informing people about the constitutional reform process, 55.1% of Sri Lankans said that the government has been unsuccessful, with almost 30% saying that the government has been very unsuccessful. 55% (with 30.8% saying very unsuccessful) say that the government has been unsuccessful in publicising the content of discussions within the Constitutional Assembly and it’s sub-committees about constitutional reforms. 56.4% of Sri Lankans also said that the government has been unsuccessful in obtaining citizens perspectives about what should be included/ what should change in the new constitution.

Overall, awareness about the constitutional reform process has somewhat increased when compared to CPA’s October 2016 survey. In March 2017, 29% of Sri Lankans said that they are somewhat aware compared to the 22% in October 2016. Those who say that they did not know that a constitutional reform process is taking place has reduced to 12% from 24%.

When asked if the current constitution should be wholly replaced with a new constitution or whether the current constitution should continue but with some needed changes, 23.5% of Sri Lankans said that we need a new constitution while 38.9% said that the current constitution should continue but with some needed changes.

The three key areas that Sri Lankans believe the Government should prioritise at present are (1) Economy and development (2) Law and order (3) Corruption. This selection was made out of a list of five key areas, the other two being constitutional reform and reconciliation. When asked what specific aspect of their first choice (economy and development) the Government should prioritise, people said it should be to reduce the cost of living.

66.2% of Sri Lankans believe that there are more important issues than constitutional reform and transitional justice for the government to address. This view is held across all Provinces except in the North and East. When asked to specify what these more important issues are, the answers given were all related to the economy and development – cost of living, infrastructure development, economy of the country and unemployment.

Conducted in the 25 districts of the country, this survey captured the opinion of 1992 Sri Lankans from the four main ethnic communities. The selection of respondents was random across the country. Fieldwork was conducted from March 14 – 19, 2017.

Download the full report in English and the Executive Summary in Sinhala and Tamil.

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Social Indicator (SI) is the survey research unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and was established in September 1999, filling a longstanding vacuum for a permanent, professional and independent polling facility in Sri Lanka on social and political issues. Driven by the strong belief that polling is an instrument that empowers democracy, SI has been conducting polls on a large range of socio-economic and political issues since its inception.

Please contact Iromi Perera at [email protected] for further information.