Michael Ashcroft Reveals Findings of “2023 Belize Poll” on Political and Social Issues

Michael Ashcroft Reveals Findings of “2023 Belize Poll” on Political and Social Issues

After commissioning surveys on the country’s state for over 13 years, today, Michael Ashcroft revealed the findings of his latest survey. The “2023 Belize Poll” was conducted by Viking Strategies LLC within a two-month span from February to April this year and looked at various aspects of the country’s political, social, and economic systems. A total of 1,066 registered voters were interviewed in person with the use of cell phones from 200 random locations country-wide. The purpose of the survey was to assess the country’s current state and to draw long-term perspectives from Belizeans. President of Viking Strategies, Trygve Olson, explained that the survey established several key findings that were compared to data collected from previous surveys. He explained that all-in-all, Belizeans have remained focused on three main factors: economic issues, crime, and corruption. 

Trygve Olson, President, Viking Strategies:What are the top two issues in 2023 in Belize? The number on issue and the stuff in blue is the first answer, we let them answer two questions. The first answer is economic issues. 41% said that’s the biggest problem, 30% said crime, 17% government corruption, the second answer what would you say is second amongst the list economic was 24%, crime was 20%, government corruption was 21% and then you see social benefits next but not as many people said that as number one. Well you see on the second chart where it says average rank shows what the average rank has been going back since 2017. And what that really shows is there is this ebb and flow and I’ve been fortunate enough to come to Belize enough times I’ve seen this ebb and flow and in fact when we get ready to do this survey and I make some calls down here you know the first question I ask is “How bad is the crime situation at the moment ?” and I don’t do that – well I do that a little bit out of self interest because sometimes I like to go walk around here and I remember a time when I couldn’t – but I also do that because I know that’s one of the drivers. I then ask how is the economy, how is government corruption ? And that’s what you see. You know the other issues really don’t ebb and flow that way, those three issues do. This particular graph which I think is important shows the ebb and flow of those three issues. Now I’ll tell you since I’ve been down here and we took this survey in April I would suspect that government corruption is now at least starting to come back into people’s minds given what we’re seeing as the news every night. I suspect crime probably too right ? There’s been some shootings recently not that there aren’t always shootings but those issues seem to be rising.”

Olson explained that based on this recent study, a majority of citizens feel that their personal economic situation has improved. He stated that the survey looked at how satisfied citizens were about their current living situation. 

Trygve Olson, President, Viking Strategies: “Right now people are sort of leaning more towards neutral dissatisfied than they have at any other point in which we’ve been doing surveys. There actually is again this perception amongst Belizeans that thing are little better today that they’ve been in almost a decade or maybe forever I don’t know and whether that’s comparison to when the pandemic was going on or they feel that there’s some progress being made I can’t say that for certain but I can tell you there is some good in terms of how Belizeans are feeling at the moment in the survey. And that’s really also shown by we asked – and this is a standard question that gets asked everywhere – “are things on the right track or the wrong track in the country today ?” And what you see is 61% say wrong track that is one of the lower numbers. The number 29% who say it’s on the right track is the highest number we’ve ever gotten. I will say to you as well having done surveys in a bunch of places for example I just got done doing one in the United States coming out of the pandemic voters and just citizens in various countries around the world are not really in the best of moods so you’re getting a lot of wrong track numbers and Michael probably has been seeing this in the survey research he does too there is a pessimism I would say amongst people in general but it’s interesting that in Belize you have the highest favorable number we’ve had. So economy. We asked people “First word that comes to mind to describe the economy.” “Bad” was the then number one word, “Good” was next, “Okay”, “Tourism” lots of different words. That’s not surprising “Bad” has always been the number one word. What was interesting is we went through and we’ve done this in the past we assessed do people generally use a positive term and we include neutral terms as generally positive or negative terms it was about 50/50 in terms of the economy.”

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