Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gallup Poll on Prospects for Peace in Eastern Congo

Gallup has a new poll out on Congolese views on the prospects for peace in the country. Gallup interviewed 1,000 Congolese adults in late 2009.

Gallup found that "Congolese surveyed late last year were optimistic about the future of the region; a majority (63%) agree there can be peace in eastern Congo within the next 12 months."

But before you get your hopes up, Gallup owns up to a major problem with data collection:

While Gallup could not interview people in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) because of security constraints, media reports document concern among people in the region about what will happen once U.N. peacekeepers leave as DRC President Joseph Kabila has requested. U.N. peacekeepers arrived in DRC in 1999 to help protect civilians and disarm and demobilize combatants, but the vast territory and lack of resources have hindered their role.

Congolese surveyed believe there can be an internal solution to the problems in eastern Congo, with residents most likely to spontaneously mention the government (51%) and the president (33%) when asked to name the party responsible for bringing peace. Despite its presence in the region for more than 10 years, relatively few Congolese view the United Nations as responsible for peace.

Gallup also asked about the role of Rwanda's role in bringing peace. A large majority of those interviewed (84%) said they did NOT think Rwanda was playing a positive role in bringing peace to the east.

My larger question is: why bother spending what I can only imagine is a lot of money polling if you don't even interview those most affected by the conflict? How exactly is this poll of any use?


5 comments:

  1. I think the answer is, it's not.

    Gallup's weak effort looks even worse in comparison to the survey conducted in late 2007 by groups from Berkley, Tulane, and the ICTJ. That one interviewed 2,600 people in the east (Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu) and 1,100 in Kisangani and Kinshasa. Very, very interesting results that take some time to digest and analyze.

    You can find it here: http://hrc.berkeley.edu/pdfs/LivingWithFear-DRC.pdf

    If Gallup weren't going to do it right, they shouldn't have done it at all. There are enough BS 'research' out there already.

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  2. MK--thanks for the link...Now you're distracting me from actual work. Agreed, why bother. And really, the security argument is largely BS.

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  3. Yes, you can always count on Tulanians for competent, insightful work.

    SNLII

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  4. SNLII - I have no idea whether your comment is sincere or facetious, but Tulane has a great rep in microbiology, too.

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  5. As a Tulanian, I'm always sincere, except when I'm being facetious.

    Go Wave.

    SNLII

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