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Afghans' Approval of Their Leadership Falls to 33%

Afghans' Approval of Their Leadership Falls to 33%

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Afghans' approval of their country's leadership fell to 33% in April -- the lowest measured since 2008. More Afghans now approve of the job performance of U.S. leadership (43%) than they do their own.


This week, at the first and largest international meeting ever held in Kabul, Afghan President Hamid Karzai renewed promises to combat corruption and end fighting in Afghanistan. The perceived lack of progress on these two fronts -- particularly the deteriorating security situation this year -- is likely contributing to Afghans' reduced faith in their leadership. Sixty-three percent of Afghans say the government is not doing enough to fight corruption. A record-high 54% also say it is not doing enough to fight terrorism.

At 44%, more Afghans approve of Karzai's individual leadership than they do the nation's leadership in general. However, his approval is down from 2009, and a majority (52%) disapproves for the first time. Karzai enjoyed majority approval throughout 2009, despite the election controversy last fall. His fellow citizens are more divided now, as they were in late 2008.



The government's next steps could be crucial to re-engaging a disenchanted Afghan public. If the government addresses security and corruption problems, public support is likely to improve. On the other hand, without some level of public support, it will be more challenging for the government to do this successfully. Although it is possible that the goals set out in Kabul will endear Karzai to his people in the short term, it will likely take action to increase their confidence in the long term.

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Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face interviews with a nationally representative random sample of 1,000 adults in urban and rural areas, aged 15 and older, conducted in December 2008, June 2009, September/October 2009, and April 2010 in Afghanistan. For results based on the sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 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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