4 in 5 Libyans agree country ‘heading in right direction’, according to post-revolution citizen poll

One year after the start of the Libyan Uprising, citizens reveal their views on the country’s domestic and international situation as well as their hopes for the future.

4 in 5 Libyans agree conditions in the country are heading in the right direction and 85 per cent strongly support the action taken to remove the Gadhafi regime, according to one of the first post-revolution opinion polls undertaken in the country.

The results of the survey carried out in Libya’s three largest cities (Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata), released by polling and research company ORB International to coincide with the first anniversary of the start of the Libyan uprising, also show Libyan citizens have emerged from the conflict with a positive view of Britain. 89 per cent of Libyans surveyed expressed a favourable or very favourable view of the UK, and 58 per cent agreed that Libya and Britain should keep strong and close links with one another. 83 per cent share a favourable or very favourable view of Prime Minister David Cameron. The positive views expressed are likely to be seen as vindication of the Government’s decision to assume a leading role in the international military coalition assembled to protect Libyan civilians in March 2011.

Libyan citizens are clear about the most urgent challenges facing Libya. In the midst of sporadic outbreaks of fighting in locations across the country – most recently in Bani Walid – the country’s overall security (34 per cent) and disarming the rebels (21 per cent) topped the list of priorities.

Other important trends identified by the poll include:

  • A STRONG COMMITMENT TO DEMOCRACY: 76 per cent of Libyans agreed the country should ‘have a government chosen by the people in free, competitive elections’
  • A CLEAR IDEA OF THE WAY FORWARD: Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) was considered by the majority (68 per cent) to be effective in helping to improve life in Libya. Their mandate is clear – the most urgent priorities are improving income, living standards and reducing poverty (29 per cent), alongside improvements to security (24 per cent) and rebel disarmament (12 per cent)
  • UNEVEN ACCESS TO MEDIA: 87 per cent use a mobile phone and 85 per cent watch television every day, but 39 per cent never read newspapers and 43 per cent never use the internet
  • MIDDLE EAST BROADCASTER MOST TRUSTED SOURCE OF NEWS: 50 per cent believed Al Jazeera was the most credible source of information, while only 7 per cent trusted the BBC
  • RELIGIOUS IDENTITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN NATIONAL IDENTITY: 63 per cent said that ‘above all, I am a Muslim’ compared with 30 per cent who confirmed ‘above all, I am a Libyan’; 17 per cent said that Libya’s government should be underpinned by ‘clear Islamic principles’

JOHNNY HEALD, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF ORB INTERNATIONAL, SAID:

“For the first time in more than 40 years, Libyan citizens are free to determine their own country’s future, so it has never been more important for the wider world to understand their attitudes and values. Libyans have told us that their lives are getting better - which should be a cause for celebration around the world – and they are also clear about what immediate priorities should be, as well as a roadmap for the future. Libyans are looking outwards and the majority believe stronger and closer ties with Britain, the United States and Europe are important – it is equally important that the West listens to them.”

About the poll

  • ORB International conducted the poll between 26th October and 15th December 2011.
  • Results are from a face-to-face random probability survey of 1,249 people conducted in three Libyan cities.
    • 43 (n=537) percent of respondents were based in Tripoli (population: 1.8m)
    • 33 (n=412) percent were based in Benghazi (population: 650,000)
    • 24 (n=300) percent were based in Misrata (population: 350,000)
  • Of the poll respondents, 50 percent were male and 50 percent were female.
  • More detail on the survey results and methodology are available upon request.

For more information, please email ORB International