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Post-Coup Myanmar: Confidence in Government Crashes

Post-Coup Myanmar: Confidence in Government Crashes

Story Highlights

  • Confidence in government drops nearly 60 points to 28%
  • 59% do not feel safe walking alone at night where they live
  • 58% say corruption is widespread in their government

Feb. 1 marks the first anniversary of the military coup in Myanmar. This article is the first in a series on what life has been like for people in Myanmar during the year of turmoil since the military takeover.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- People's confidence in the government in Myanmar plunged almost 60 percentage points after the military seized power in a coup last February, dropping from 86% in 2020 to a record low of 28% in late 2021. This is the largest documented drop in confidence in the government for any country in 15 years of Gallup polling.

The sharp drop in people's confidence in their government reflects a year of turmoil in Myanmar, where most people no longer feel safe in their communities and distrust a government that they see as corrupt.

Line graph. Confidence in government among adults in Myanmar. In 2021, 28% of adults in Myanmar had confidence in their government, down from 86% in 2020, while 49% in 2021 did not have confidence in their government, up from 9% the previous year.

These data come from Gallup's latest survey of Myanmar, conducted Sept. 22-Dec. 2, 2021, as civil unrest and military crackdowns continued throughout the country. Before the Feb. 1, 2021, coup, confidence in the country's civilian government had been consistently high, never dropping below 78% in Gallup's trend since 2014.

Myanmar had been a military dictatorship from 1962 through 2011, when the government transitioned to a quasi-democracy. The country appeared to have been on a trajectory to increasingly democratic rule, until the military refused to accept the results of the 2020 elections and took over.

After initially allowing pro-democracy protests, the military's response turned brutal. It has tried to eliminate resistance along its borders, burning down homes and bombing civilians.

Security Deteriorates; Feelings of Safety Plunge

Reports of violence both by opposition groups targeting the government and by government forces targeting those groups continue to filter out of the country. With bombings and shootings almost a daily occurrence across the country, people's sense of safety has quickly deteriorated.

A record-high 59% of people in the country now say they do not feel safe walking alone at night where they live, nearly double the 30% who said the same the year before.

Line graph. Feelings of safety in Myanmar. In 2021, 39% of adults in Myanmar felt safe walking alone at night where they lived, down from 69% in 2020. Alternatively, 59% did not feel safe walking alone in 2021, compared with 30% in 2020.

Corruption in Government Reaches New High

In the wake of the coup, a record-high 58% of adults in the country say corruption is widespread throughout the government. However, since 2014, no fewer than four in 10 adults in Myanmar have said that corruption is widespread. The percentage of the population saying this is the case was on the rise even before the coup, inching upward consistently since 2017.

Line graph. Perceptions that corruption is widespread in government in Myanmar. In 2021, 58% of adults in Myanmar said corruption was widespread in government, up from 51% the previous year. 25% said it was not in, in 2021, compared with 35% in 2020.

Bottom Line

Myanmar's military has stated that it refused to accept the results of the country's 2020 elections over allegations of fraud. Previous Gallup research showed that most adults in Myanmar had confidence in their country's elections but that confidence in their military had been slipping. Myanmar's military leaders likely moved out of a sense of political vulnerability. Rather than potentially shoring up that position, confidence in the country's government as a whole has suffered.

The military's actions during the unrest that has followed the coup have likely further served to shake confidence as the security situation in the country has deteriorated. The longer the unrest continues, with widespread violence by both sides, the more this may affect the public's confidence in the government, particularly if government forces are seen to have taken part in criminal activity.

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For complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

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