Somaliland is a self-declared state with international recognition as an autonomous region of Somalia. As the Somaliland Local Government Elections scheduled for November 2012 approached, insight into the views and attitudes of Somalilanders was of more interest than ever.

In June 2012 an ORB conducted a Somaliland-wide public opinion poll, questioning Somalilanders about the issues pertaining to democracy, politics and general issues and priorities affecting their local area and Somaliland as a whole.

The poll revealed generally high level of optimism, with 86% agreeing that Somaliland is moving in the right direction and a majority also thinking things in Somaliland have improved in the past year.

In terms of perceptions of democratic progress, 80% of respondents indicated they see Somaliland today as either a full democracy or a democracy with minor problems, and 88% expect the upcoming local elections to be either completely free and fair or free and fair with minor problems.

Overall, there is a prevailing sense of equality with 87% of Somalilanders considering themselves the same or better off economically than other Somalilanders.

Despite overall optimism and satisfaction with the democratic process as a whole, satisfaction with particular incumbents within the political system is low. Most Somalilanders feel very little sense of agency when it comes to influencing either elected local councillors or members of parliament, and around two thirds think that the national government is out of touch with the needs of the people. Nevertheless, nearly two thirds say they would still vote for their current MP if elections were held today.

Unreliable provision of electricity, jobs and high prices are the main areas Somalilanders would like their political leaders and government to address.

Of a list of organizations and leaders we asked Somalilanders about, religious leaders attracted the highest ratings, with almost universal approval ratings. The President was also viewed favourably, followed by Parliament, Local Councils, and NGOs, particularly foreign ones, viewed the least favourably of all.

Details about the poll

-Results are from a face-to-face random probability survey of 1,266 people conducted across all 6 electoral regions of Somaliland (Mjeeh, Sahil, Togdheer, Sool and Sanag) conducted between 16 June and 24 June 2012
-In Hargeisa, teams that worked on ORB’s 2011 poll were re-commissioned to complete the fieldwork.
-Additional centres were set up in Borama and Burcao and new teams of interviewers recruited and trained, to ensure interviewers were familiar to the areas in which they were interviewing.
-Gender-linked interviewing (whereby male interviewers survey male respondents and female interviewers survey only female respondents) ensured an even split within the sample