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Before Attacks, Indonesians Commended Anti-Terror Efforts

Before Attacks, Indonesians Commended Anti-Terror Efforts

Sixty-eight percent said government doing enough to fight terrorism

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup Polls in Indonesia conducted before the twin bombings in Jakarta last week suggest that Indonesians, like many others around the world, believed their government had been making progress against militants. Only a few months before the attacks, more than two-thirds of Indonesians (68%) said the government was doing enough to fight terrorism, which is up markedly from the bare majority (51%) who said so two years ago.


The high marks that Indonesians gave their government's efforts to combat terrorism in 2008 and 2009 largely reflect the consecutive years of relative peace after the wave of major terrorist attacks in the country between 2000 and 2005. Indonesians likely attribute a great deal of this relative calm to the government's globally lauded counterterrorism efforts over the last several years, which appeared to seriously weaken militant networks in the country.

Fighting Terrorism in Southeast Asia

Like Indonesia, many countries in Southeast Asia are dealing with terrorism on their own soil with varying degrees of success. But residents in several immediately neighboring countries, such as the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand, are far less likely than Indonesians to believe their governments are doing enough to fight terrorism. In Thailand, for example, where attention to the six-year insurgency in the south is reportedly getting renewed focus after the Jakarta bombings, residents were the least likely to say their government is doing enough.


Indonesians' attitudes instead were more in line with those of Singaporeans, Cambodians, and Laotians, among whom more than 6 in 10 said at the time they were surveyed that their governments were doing enough to combat terrorism.

Bottom Line

The Jakarta bombings last may have raised some doubts among Indonesians, as well as others in the region and beyond, about the adequacy of the government's efforts to fight terrorism. Therefore, the government's response in the near-term will be crucial not only to reassure its own citizens of their security and the nation's stability, but also to enable Indonesia to weather any potential damage to its image worldwide.

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Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,080 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted April-May 2009 in Indonesia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3.5 percentage points. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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