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Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo

Survey reflects the way to go towards Dominican democracy

The results of the AmericasBarometer were announced in both Santo Domingo and Santiago, at the beginning of January. 2013

Survey reflects the way to go towards Dominican democracy Rosario Espinal, Raúl Yzaguirre and Rafael Toribio.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Center for Governance and Social Management of the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (CEGES / INTEC) launched the study "Political Culture of Democracy in the Dominican Republic and in the Americas 2012: Towards Equal Opportunities." The AmericasBarometer is a survey of the Public Opinion Project of Latin America (LAPOP), conducted by the University of Vanderbilt, and aims to measure democratic values, as well as changes and continuities in the political culture of citizens in the region.

The results were presented on January 10 and 11, in the cities of Santo Domingo and Santiago, respectively, by Dr. Rosario Espinal, a sociologist and professor at Temple University in Philadelphia and co-author of the study. From 2004 to 2012 more countries have been added to the project covering almost the entire region and surpassing the 41,000 interviews. In the 2012 round, surveys were conducted in 26 countries between the months of January and May.

In this report, the data from the survey conducted in the Dominican Republic are analyzed through the lens of equal opportunities in all its dimensions: participation, political legitimacy, tolerance, government effectiveness and trust in the key institutions of representation.

The data reveal that support for the democratic system and the rule of law coexist with the lack of confidence in the institutions, with the police and political parties having the least average support among the citizens interviewed. The Dominican Republic continues to lead the regional comparison in party sympathy and clientelistic offers, ranking among the countries with the highest percentage of people who claimed to work for a party or candidate. In the civil activism, the Dominican Republic stands out for the high percentage of people who turn to a local authority to solve community problems as well as the lowest degree in terms of mobilization and citizen protests.

At the same time, the Dominican Republic ranks among the countries with the highest average perception of corruption with 78.1 points; similar to the averages recorded in previous years.

In the percentage of victims of corruption, the country occupies the eighth position with an 21.7% of cases reported in the survey. Being the most prone to report that the most educated and men were victims of corruption.

Regarding the perception of citizen insecurity and crime victimization, the data showed variation in the region. Santo Domingo is located in an intermediate position with an average of 45.4 points, if we take into account that large cities such as Mexico and Lima registered average insecurity percentages of 54.7 and 53.9 points respectively. At national level, the perception of insecurity has oscillated slightly in recent years, and although it decreased in 2012 with respect to 2010, but the change is not statistically significant.

With regard to gender equity, the country occupies the first position in the opinion that men should have priority in the labor market and the second with regard to the consideration that men are better political leaders than women. Paradoxically, the Dominican Republic is among the countries with the greatest support for the female quota and the belief that a political woman would be less corrupt than a man.

In his opening remarks during the presentation of the survey, Ambassador Raúl Yzaguirre of the United States highlighted that this study reflects the support of Dominicans for democracy as well as the people's perception that society needs to work more for the institutions public and policies strengthen their credibility.

The data show that the majority of the population considers that the State has a duty to implement public policies to reduce inequality between rich and poor. Being a woman and living in rural areas has a negative relationship in personal income. In education, the older age, the dark color of the skin and living in the rural area are factors that influence the lower level of studies of the Dominican citizens interviewed. On the contrary, sex does not have a statistically significant effect, although the level of studies of the mother shows a clear incidence in the educational level of the children. In 2012 there is an increase in the levels of support for the idea that the children of Haitian immigrants born in Dominican territory obtain Dominican nationality, as well as in the acceptance that undocumented workers obtain a work permit.

The 31% of the respondents expressed their desire to go live or work outside the country, behind Guyana, Jamaica and Haiti, being the most willing to emigrate: the youngest, the most educated, higher income and the men.

PLD sympathizers are those who are located to the right on the ideological scale (69,1), followed by the PRSC (68,5) and the PRD (52,5), while independent citizens self-identify more to the left of the ideological scale (45,4).

The LAPOP survey is conducted every two years. The data is available on the LAPOP Project website and is a valuable working tool for communicators, social researchers, academics and decision makers.

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