Majority of citizens support protests, while violence is seen as too great a price to pay for change

This article first appeared on Klix.ba on 12 February 2014.

The current protests stem from citizens’ enormous discontent. Strong support for these protests has unified our society, drawing support from both the Federation and the RS. These are the results of a poll of BH citizens that looked at their positions on the current protests. The poll was conducted by Valicon, a company specializing in marketing consultancy and research.

[BH Protest Files Note: Table above reads: “I support the protests.” With 88% of respondents in the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 93% of respondents in the Federation, and 78% of those in the RS answering in the affirmative.]

If the protests continued using violence,  support for them would probably drop to below 50%. The protests represent an uprising against the general state of affairs in society. However, only half the respondents believed that the protests will produce significant changes.
The background to these protests is the general discontent that prevails in society, a society without (or with very few) positive trends.
Valicon’s poll showed that nearly three-quarters of respondents were personally dissatisfied, and as many as 90% were unhappy with the society in which they live. When one adds to this the fact that more than half of all respondents believe that the state is ‘going in the wrong direction’ and that one-third believe that the state is ‘standing in place,’ we can easily understand why the majority of respondents support the protests.
Nearly half of all respondents (47%) unconditionally support the protests, while overall the protests are supported by 88% of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s citizens. The share of those who support the protests is represented by an overwhelming majority within all subcategories as well: in the Federation support is over 90%, while in the RS it is just under 80%. Nearly half of those polled expressed ‘reserved’ support for the protests so long as they are not violent. The majority of those who didn’t give unconditional support to the protests explained their position by noting their opposition to violence.

[BH Protest Files Note: The first bar at the top reads ‘The future is…’ : optimistic (27%), neither optimistic nor pessimistic (34%), pessimistic (39%). The second bar on the bottom reads: ‘BH society is heading…’ : in a good direction (16%), is standing in place (34%), in a worse direction (50%)]
Citizens’ see these protests as an uprising against the general conditions in society (60%). 20% see the protests as an uprising against the ruling parties (20%) or all political parties (13%). Respondents were least likely to characterize the protests as being directed against corruption and botched privatizations.
Citizens were also asked how much they agreed with a number of positions. The most controversial question proved to relate to claims that violence is too big a price to pay for change (‘If violence is the only means of achieving change, it’s better for nothing to change’). Half the citizens do not agree with this claim, while nearly a third agrees with it. This represents a clear indication that in so far as violent protests continued, the support of the public would significantly decrease.
However, citizens are split when it comes to their expectations about the ability of these protests to bring about fundamental change. Slightly more than half the citizens think that the protests will result in radical changes, while the other half doesn’t think they will. This demonstrates a characteristic apathy towards politics.

[BH Protest Files Note: The table above reads, ‘The protests are mainly directed at…’ : the overall situation in society (60%), ruling parties (20%), all parties (13%), corruption (7%), bad privatizations (1%)].

Methodology: the poll was conducted by Valicon, a company for marketing consultancy and research. The poll was carried out between 10-11 February 2014 on the basis of 525 respondents between the ages of 18-65. The sample is representative, and correspondents to the structure of the population according to age, gender and regional distribution.
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