Back Monday | 18 February, 2008
Armenian Election | IREX Media Survey
IREX has released a print media election survey a few weeks ago, and this offers an interesting glimpse into growing political engagement in Armenia. Readers of our previous surveys may remember that our data has suggested widespread cynicism in Armenia. Well, as various commentators have noted, the entry of Levon Ter-Petrosian seems to have re-energized political debate.
The survey is an excellent overview, including media consumption habits, and it comes quite well documented. We're a little surprised how they managed to find so many male respondents (almost 50%, when typically women are overrepresented among any sample), and we also would have been curious to hear about the non-response rate, but these are minor issues.
The survey suggests that secrecy of the vote still remains a major issue. If 30% do not believe that their vote is secret, this already has an impact on the integrity of the election itself. Also, a similar number says that they will not do anything if they are disenfranchised, i.e. if they are not given the chance to vote at all. A solid 56% comes prepared, saying that they always bring their own pen to the elections (as otherwise, there may only be a pencil in the voting booth). Much more food for thought is available in the overview, here.
More broadly, though, recent developments in Armenia make one cautiously optimistic: there is political competition and there are substantive debates. Arguably, apathy is not the default setting, and an engaged population also constrains the space for extensive electoral manipulation.
The short overview of the survey is in the link above, and a longer version, with some SPSS charts should be available from IREX (or also us, upon request).