13 October 2014 Published in Romalitico Written by  Romalitico

Survey on public opinion of Roma for the Parliamentary elections in 2014

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This study presents the results of the public opinion survey, conducted by Romalitico. The research consists of an online survey with questions related to the parliamentary elections and the trust in the Roma political parties. The survey was conveyed during the period from November 14th to April 18th, 2014, on a sample of 350 people.

Internet (online) survey is one of the newest and most modern research tools for measuring the public opinion. These surveys provide a space for measuring the general public opinion in various topics, but often in areas such as health, economy and politics in order to obtain different descriptive and inferential statistics.

Romalitico for the first-time conducts an online survey to test the public opinion of Roma in Macedonia about the Roma political parties and their work. The primary goal of this survey is to capture the opinion of the Roma middle class because we believe that this group is driving the changes in society and is less vulnerable to electoral manipulation. The initial assumption, based on previous research (Ncube, 2011); (Dunlap, 2008), was that the population that has access to the Internet, in fact, represented the so-called Roma middle class.

Romalitico with this research brought a new dimension to the political situation of the Roma electorate, which is of common importance to the public and Roma political parties. In addition, this survey has a goal to produce a public debate about the focus on the parties and their expectations in the next parliamentary elections.

 

Methodology

Regarding the methodology, Romalitico projected a target population of 500 people over 18 years (due to the right to vote), users of the social network Facebook. During the selection of the population, Romalitico uses the Facebook group - Young Roma Lawyers that consists of active Roma users that regularly debate about policies in Macedonia. From the target population, a random sample of 350 people was selected, taking into account the gender equality. The random selection of respondents was prepared in Microsoft Excel where each member of the database is granted with the appropriate probability (function of Excel random), where the first 350 people with the highest probability were chosen. Taking into account of the limitation of the internet surveys, Romalitico used the services of a Google Form with a single link for the randomized sample. Given the fact that this kind of research is presented for the first time for the Roma electorate, Romalitiko also faces some limitation in the response and distribution of the survey.

From the total sample of 350 people, only 114 respond the survey. The data are with a confidence interval of 95% with a margin of error of 2.68% +/-. The moderately low response rate of 32%  is due to the fact that these type of polls are implemented for the first time on a sample of Roma population; people have an aversion to respond to political issues; and some people think that is violated their anonymity. Given the random sample and the above mentions limitation, the response is relatively good and generates conclusions based on a small number of respondents of the total target group. However this kind of research has been recently introduced and may bring new measures for various topics about the Roma community in Macedonia.

This survey for the first time included specific questions about the Roma political parties and their assessment/rating. The survey contains 3 parts, along with the demographic questions. The survey was anonymous and the analysis of these data was carried out in a transparent manner.

 

Table 1: Demographic characteristics of the respondents  

  

The table above presents the demographic characteristics of the respondents. In the demographic part, questions about gender, level of education and age were included. This information were very useful for obtaining the essential statistics in determining the factors that influence or are important for the statistical conclusions.  From the table it can be seen, that 70% of respondents are males versus 30% female and most of the respondents (around 99%) are with higher and secondary education. By the age groups, respondents ranged mostly in the category of 18 -29 years (about 60%). The demographic characteristics of the respondents indicate that many of the young people with secondary and higher education show interest in the political process in Macedonia.

The second part includes questions about respondents' interest in politics; confidence in the level of democracy and state institutions; and their views on the appraisal of their vote and the impact on the general political processes. The purpose of these questions is to generate responses about the general knowledge and assessment of the political system of the Republic of Macedonia. These questions also show the level of involvement and engagement of the respondents in the political processes.

The third part of this survey included specific questions about the Roma political parties and their previous activities. In this survey, respondents had the opportunity to assess the work of several Roma political parties on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 - the lowest; 5 – the highest rank), and to evaluate the Roma leaders. This research also examined the impact of various factors that affect the decision to vote and the reason for the low voting turnout in the election. The last question of this survey includes the question of choice of political party for the upcoming parliamentary elections. The purpose of this set of the questions was to examine and evaluate the opinion about the Roma parties, their activities and the trust level. . These issues generate crucial part of this analysis.

 

Results 

The first question of the research refers to the participant’s interest about politics (listed options: Not at all interested, Not very interested, somewhat interested, and very interested). Based on the responses, it can be seen that 48% of the respondents are somewhat interested in politics, while 30% of the respondents are very much interested in politics. For the same question 17% of the respondents stated that they are not very interested in politics, while 5% said that they have no interest at all. According to these results gained from 114 Roma respondents, can be concluded that Roma have some interest in politics, 48%, and only 5% have no interest at all. The following figure visually projects the statistical results.

 

 Figure 1: Generally speaking, how interested are you in politics?

  

The second question examine how satisfied Roma are with the level of democracy? (Listed options: I do not know, dissatisfied, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, satisfied, and very satisfied).  The results of this question indicates that there is partial satisfaction in the democracy of the Republic of Macedonia, 47%, while 26% stated neither satisfied nor dissatisfied in the democracy of the country, and 18% dissatisfied. According to the responses, 3% responded that they do not know about the level of democracy, and only 6% responded with full trust to the level of democracy in the country. In addition, it can be concluded that, most of the respondents have partial confidence in the level of democracy in the country.

 

Figure 2: How satisfied are you with the level of democracy?

  

The third question explore how much Roma have a trust in the state institutions, such as: Parliament, President, Police, Media, and Judiciary.  (Listed options: from a scale from 1 to 5; 1 - trust the least and 5- trust the most). According to the responses of 114 interviews, it can be seen that from the scale (1 to 5) the respondents mostly responded with 3, or a moderate trust in the parliament, while few of the interviews responded with 5, which means they mostly trust to the parliament as an institution. For the president as an institution, most of the interviews responded with 1, which means the least trust is in the president, while few of them responded with 5, or the most trust in the president as an institution. The third institution is the police, where the largest part of the interviews responded with 1 or the least trust in the police, while few respondents responded with 5 or the most trust in the police as an institution. For the same question on trust for the media largest part of the interviews responded with 1 or the least trust in the media, while few respondents responded with 5 or the most trust in the media. The last institution is the trust in the judiciary, for which most of the respondents voted with 1 or the least trust in the judiciary, while few of the respondents voted with 5 or the most trust in the judiciary as an institution. Based on the results gained from 114 Roma interviews, it can be concluded that Roma except the partial trust in the parliament, in the other institutions (president, police, media, and judiciary) have the least trust. The following graph visually projects the statistical results.

 

Figure 3: How much trust do you have in the following institutions?

  

The fourth question of the survey was designed to grasp whether Roma vote in the last parliamentary elections? (Listed options: Yes and No). According to the responses of the interviews it can be seen that larger part of the respondents voted in the last parliamentary elections, 74%, while 26% responded that they did not vote. Based on these results gained from 114 Roma interviews, it can be concluded that Roma use their civil right for voting. The following graph visually illustrates the statistical results.

 

Figure 4: Did you vote in the last parliamentary elections?

  

The fifth question of the research is: Do you believe that your vote can make a change  in the election of the next president/ prime minister in the country ?  (Listed options: Yes, No and I do not know). The results of this question indicate that respondents can make a change in choosing the next President or Prime Minister with 53%, while 31% believe they cannot make a change in choosing them. For the same question 17% answered they do not know whether can make a change in electing the President or Prime Minister in the state. From these results it can be concluded that Roma can make a change in choosing the next President or Prime Minister in the state. The following graph showing the results visually.

 

Graph 5: Do you believe that your vote can make a change in the election of the next president/ prime minister in the country?

  

The sixth question of the research is: How much your vote can affect the work of the Government on Roma issues? (Listed options: I do not know, Not at all, Little, Somewhat, Very much) According to the results of this question can be seen that most of respondents answered that very much i.e. somewhat that their voice can affect the work of the government in terms of Roma issues with 32% while 20% answered that their voice can have a little influence the work of the government on Roma issues. The following graph showing the results visually.

 

Figure 6: How much your vote can affect the work of the Government on Roma issues?

  

The seventh question of the research is: Are you a member of a political party? (Listed options: Yes and No). The results of this question indicate that 54% of respondents are part of some political party, while 46% of respondents answered that they are not part of political party. According the answers of the respondents can be concluded that most of respondents in this survey are politically oriented i.e. are part political party. The following graph showing the results visually.

 

Figure 7: Are you a member of a political party?

  

The eighth question of the research is: How would you rate the work of the Roma political parties? (Listed parties: SRM, PIR, PCER, DPR, DSR) * Party OPE is taken into consideration along with DSR ie ODSR (Listed options: a scale from 1 to 5,  1 is minimum, 2 is little, 3 is partially, 4 is a lot  and 5 is the most). According to the results of this question from the average of respondents it can be concluded that most valued party among Roma is SRM with 3.0 points, after SRM most valued party is PCER with average of 1.9 points, similar result have and DSR with 1.8 points, after follows PIR with 1.7 points and the last valued party according the received answers is DPR with 1.5 points. The following graph showing the results visually.

 

Figure 8: How would you rate the work of the Roma political parties?

  

The ninth question of the research is: How much trust you have in the following leaders? (Listed politicians: Amdi Bajram, Saban Saliu, Nezdet Mustafa, Samka Ibraimoski, and Bajram Berat) (Listed options: a scale from 1 to 5,  1 is minimum, 2 is little, 3 is partially, 4 is a lot  and 5 is the most) According to the results of this question from the average of respondents it can be concluded that most confidence enjoy Amdi Bajram with 2.83 points, next most trusted politician is Samka Ibraimoski with 1.95 points, after Samka Ibraimoski follow Shaban Saliu with 1.70 points, similarly points of trust enjoy and Bajram Berat with 1.63 points and less trust enjoy Nezdet Mustafa with 1.43 points. The following graph showing the results visually.

 

Figure 9: How much trust you have in the following leaders?

  

The tenth question of the research is: In which of the following areas the Roma political party should focus more?  (Listed domains: Health, Housing, Education, Employment, Infrastructure, Judicial System and Culture) (Listed options: a scale from 1 to 5,  1 is minimum, 2 is little, 3 is partially, 4 is a lot  and 5 is the most) According to the results of this question it can be concluded that the average of votes from the respondents are concentrated in all areas mentioned above. Health, housing, education, employment, infrastructure, judicial system and culture are areas in which the parties should direct their actions. Most of the answers are targeted towards acting in employment follows with similar difference housing and education. As well the domains of health and infrastructure seem to be important according the respondents where political parties should direct their activities while culture and legislation are considered less important domains on which political parties should focus their activities. The following graph showing the results visually.

 

Figure 10: In which of the following areas the Roma political party should focus more?

  

The Eleventh question (a) of the research is from closed type: All Roma political parties are the same, there is no difference between them. (Listed options: I completely agree ,I agree, I do not agree, Somewhat agree). The results of this question indicate that 43 respondents completely agree with the statement, 39 of the respondents agree with the statement, 14 of the respondents somewhat agree with this statement and 18 respondents said they do not agree with this statement. According to the answers can be concluded that the Roma have the same perception for the Roma political parties while only 18 of the respondents said there is a difference between Roma parties. The following graph showing the results visually.

 

 Figure 11a: All Roma political parties are the same, there is no difference between them.

  

The eleventh question (b) from the research is from closed type: The political parties are the best way to represent the interests of Roma (Offered options, I do not agree, somewhat agree, agree and completely agree). The results indicate that 37 respondents agree with the statement, while 35 of the respondents do not agree, for the options somewhat agree and completely disagree, the number of the respondents was the same, 21 respondents. It can be concluded that Roma agree that the political parties are the best way to represent the interest of Roma, however, there is still little difference in the option do not agree which demonstrate that many of the respondents think that the Roma political parties are not the only representatives. The following graph visually illustrates the statistical results of this research.

 

  Figure 11b: The political parties are the best way to represent the interests of Roma.

  

The Twelfth research question is: What most affects when choosing a political party? (Offered options: A political party / plan, its past results, The media, Financial compensation, Election Campaign and leader / member of a particular political party). According to the results of this question it can be seen that 47 respondents believe that the most recent results effect on their choice, second, 33 participants have named the political program / ​​plan, leader or member of a certain party followed with 28 respondents. For the same question, 4 respondents believe that the election campaign effect on their choice and eventually financial compensation and the media have the same number of respondents who answered that it is a key factor when choosing a party. According to these results it can be concluded that the results of the political parties so far have the biggest impact on the choice of political party, after it follows, the political program / ​​plan, leader or member of a particular political party, the election campaigns, media and financial compensation. The following graph visually illustrates the statistical results of this research.

 

Figure 12: What influence the most on your choice of political party?

  

The thirteen research refers to is: Many Roma do not vote during the elections, which according to you is the main reason for it? (Offered options: Not being interested in the election, an individual vote does not make any difference, luck of political options, electoral manipulations and not being registered in the pooling list). According to the results of this question it can be seen that 51 respondents are not interested in the elections, follows the electoral manipulations with 44 respondents, as well as the reasons for not being registered in the pooling list with 11 respondents and the absence of political options with 8 respondents. The offered option an individual vote does not make any difference was not selected a reason. From these results it can be noted that the main reason for not voting during the elections is the fact that many Roma do not show interest for the elections, including the electoral manipulations, for not being registered in the electoral list as well as lack of political options. The following graph visually illustrates the statistical results of this research.

 

 Figure 13: Many Roma do not vote during the elections, which according to you is the main reason for it?

 

The fourteen research question: If the elections were held today, for which of the following political party you would vote: (Offered options: SRM, PCER, PIR, OPE, DPR and DSR). According to the results it can be seen that 55% of the respondents would vote for SRM, 20% would go for PCER, 15% to DSR, 5% for PIR, and only 1% of the respondents would vote for OPE. Following these results, it can be concluded that the political party SRM would have the biggest results in the elections, after PCER, DSR, PIR, DPR and OPE. The following graph visually illustrates the statistical results of this research.

 

Figure 14: If the elections were held today, for which of the following political party you would vote for?

 

Conclusion

Based on the results of the survey, it can be seen that Roma are fairly politically active and partially take part in the Roma political parties which indicates that Roma are interested in the political processes that are going on in the Republic of Macedonia. Further, based on the research of Romalitico, it can be noted that the Roma population is somewhat satisfied with the level of democracy that reigns in the country.  When it comes to having confidence in institutions, the analysis shows that the Roma community has partial trust in the Parliament, while institutions such as the President, police, medias and judiciary are an institutions least trusted by the Roma. The analysis indicates that the Roma freely use their right to vote which is a clear indication that they are active participants in the process of choosing their representative at the state level, as well as in the local level. When deciding whether their votes can make changes or not, the Roma community is divided, which illustrate that they find their voices not so valid and with less importance on making changes in the electoral processes. Based on the results of the survey, it can be also concluded that the voice of Roma can affect on the work of government when dealing with Roma issues. Most ranged is the work of SRM which is part of the coalition led by VMRO – DPMNE, second is the Roma opposition party PCER, while on the third place is the Roma political party DSR *. The Roma member of the Parliament Amdi Bajram, according to the respondents appears as the most trusted member, right behind him is Samka Ibraimoski, while on the third place is the leader of DSR Shaban Saliu.

According to the comments received from most of the people surveyed, it should be noted that these kinds of surveys are essential for the political culture and public opinion on Roma and Roma political parties with an aim to improve the situation of Roma in Macedonia. During the implementation of the survey, Romalitico experienced obstacles due to insufficient collaboration and response from the people, which explains the fact that this is the first online survey on public opinion for Roma related issues in Macedonia. Moreover, as an obstacle should also be noted the anonymity and distrust which led to obstacles in defining the population and sampling that would picture the public opinion of Roma middle class in Macedonia. Some of the questions are created without “I don’t know” and “none of the above” options due to the small sample size.

The survey is copyrighted, unauthorized publishing, text reproduction, distribution, and text copy is prohibited without prior consent by the author.

 

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Last modified on Tuesday, 14 October 2014 21:37

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