Projects in the News: ABC/BBC Survey in Afghanistan

In October, I traveled to Kabul on behalf of Charney Research in New York to oversee the pre-tests and interviewer training for a nationwide survey conducted on behalf of ABC news, BBC News and ARD of Germany.

The results, which were released today, are interesting for a number of reasons-- particularly the wealth of tracking data from 2006 (a project for which I also traveled to Kabul for pre-tests and trainings) and 2005. As the ABC story (which is more insightful than the BBC's) emphasizes, Afghans are increasingly critical of US efforts, with only 42% positive, down from 57% in 2006. More than half (53%) disapprove of the job the US is doing. It's important to note, however, that the presence of US troops isn't what is drawing Afghans' ire (71% support their presence), it's their performance. Civilian deaths, especially in the Southwest, understandably, turn Afghans away from US and NATO forces. This is an important finding with implications for US policy there.

Read more: Projects in the News: ABC/BBC Survey in Afghanistan

Polling in Iraq and Afghanistan

Talk about asking tough questions in tough places! Matt Warshaw, Senior Research Manager at D3 Systems, and friend and colleague, responded to interview questions about the challenges associated with conducting research in Afghanistan and Iraq at World Public Opinion. Read it. I think you'll be surprised about a lot of the answers.

My favorite answer? When Matt was asked why this sort of work is worthwhile:

"It’s the third voice in the debate. It’s providing what people in those countries think about that situation. Having some knowledge of what the people in these places think themselves is a very valuable tool when enormous global decisions are going to be made about the future of a country, the direction it’s going to take, whether you’re going to have democracy, elections, invasions, sanctions, etc. These are decisions that could impact not just that country but your own society and other societies. There’s an enormous value in knowing what’s on people’s minds."