An online survey conducted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives asked five questions regarding the upcoming Presidential election. The objective of the survey was not to predict election results but to gather public opinion on the elections and contribute to ongoing discussions. As the survey was conducted online and not with a random sample, the findings presented below cannot be generalised to Sri Lanka.

1,394 people completed the survey during the survey period 12-16 December 2014.

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Respondents were given a list of issues affecting the country at present and were asked to select which issue they thought should be the main focus of the candidates’ campaigns. 51.71% selected corruption while 20.83% selected the economy, 19.08% selected Constitutional reform and 8.38% chose human rights.

If the Presidential election is to be held tomorrow, majority of respondents believe that Maithripala Sirisena would win. Only 23.94% believe that President Rajapaksa would win.

There have been significant crossovers in the past few weeks – to the Government and also to the side of the common candidate. An overwhelming majority of respondents (93.03%) said that it is the side of the common candidate that has benefited the most from these crossovers in terms of getting more votes.

Social media is playing a key role in the elections campaigns, but how influential are they in reaching a critical group – the young voters? 48.06% of respondents believe that social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are somewhat influential in helping young people decide which candidate to vote for. 38.02% said that social media platforms are very influential while 7.82% believe it is not at all influential.

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When asked about what would motivate them to go and vote on the 8th of January 2015, the two most common answers given was to end corruption and to bring change to the country. Many mentioned that they wanted an end to a Rajapaksa government while some also stated that they do not want a Chandrika – Ranil government.

Click here to download the complete dataset. The graphs below are available as high resolution images here.

  • srivan

    Anyone who suggests any name other than Rajapakshe will be in for special treatment. SL is famous for that!

    • Sam

      You have no idea how bad it was during UNP time. You didn’t have to suggest just think was enough to get treatment on tires. Where were you then? Canada?

  • winnie

    The mess Sri Lanka is in today is because leaders look to popularity rather than doing what is right. Doing what is right involves justice, equality , hating evil and loving people and extend mercy. Popularity is a nice addition if it comes : but true leaders will carry on without it !

    • Sam

      Whats the mess Sri Lanka is in? People live peacefully. And infrastructure is developed. 2nd fastest growing economy in the world, Backed by the most powerful nation in the world, Large scale development initiatives like Port City will bring next Hong Kong to Sri Lanka over the next 99 years. Want again a bomb culture created thanks UNP?

  • thamara palihawadana

    your survey is ridiculous. Anybody can manipulate this kind of survey. Change is already happened. No war (this along is sufficient), people travel from on corner to the other on highways, cleaner cities are visible -for example Colombo which is run by UNP for nearly 70 years showing there capability of ruin the country! Remember- prior to MR we lived 30 years in the clutches of LTTE! So what is the change some are talking about? Going back to prior to 2009?

    • Zahra Anver

      how long are you going to hang on this ‘no war and highway’ when people are fighting for bread more than what they did before and during war….

      • Sam

        President Premadasa, President Chandrika steal the country and doing nothing the country. They could not even protect them selves. President Rajapaksha is greater than winning the war is not leaving room to for a single bomb to explode after the war. Thats greater than defeating the terrorism. Safety comes before solving corruption. UNP will not even be able to move and maintain grass along expressways. Right now there is nobody to match president Mahinda. Operation must prepare properly next time around.

        • Dom

          You must be living in a bunker, During the Premadasa’s years he had setup the industrial zones and factories for the employment and he had stole zero rupee from the Government.

          During his year Sri Lanka’s GDP were rapidly grown faster compared today’s GDP growth and this is called J. R. Jayewardene’s Machine that helped the millions of Sri Lankan’s employment. Still upto today UNP’s philosophy of J.R Jayewardene exists.

          The problem is that Expressways and road development didn’t really benefit the Sri Lankan citizens they’re worrying about their cost of living and lack of employment this will led the defeat of incumbent President this election.

          As citizen of Sri lanka i honour President Rajapaksa’s victory over terrorism and he has brought the country the peace. However when the time changes the Rajapaksa’s cabinet becomes too incapable of developing the country. They were too immature in economics and Foreign Diplomatic of Sri Lanka are mostly unqualified diplomatics this dynamically reduced the Sri Lanka’s image internationally which became more unfriendly to the Western Powers which will lead Sri Lanka’s future into dark era and this couldn’t save Sri Lanka from danger.

          Only the solution is that the opposition are capably of fixing these kind of issues that currently the Sri Lankans are facing today.

  • joe

    No
    one with little intelligence would vote for a person who did not keep his
    promise to abolish executive presidency. How could we vote for a person who had
    files against ministers, yet kept them protected 10 years. It is time for a change. A change for better. That
    change is Maithri.

  • Sam

    Now its million times better than the country thats left by Ranil and Chandika. Who wants them back? You have to be out of your mind.

    • Dom

      Sri Lanka is nowadays are suffering, Sounds like you don’t live Sri Lanka and if you ever had visited Sri Lanka you’ll know the sufferings of Sri Lankan people.

      After the war the country has gotten more worsen in terms of economic and the Govt continued to steal the state resources and the money from Inland Revenue Department. The Government also provides false informations of economy growth.

      Even if the UNP wins they’ll attempt to restore the stability and Good Governance, UNP is known to do the economy tactics, While MR knows to win the war and doesn’t know how to develop the country, He’s mostly focused on roads, railway and power development, This doesn’t benefit the Sri Lankan people thus this is huge wastage of public fund.

  • Prem Rathne

    HOW OLD ARE YOU???

    It was same under both sides for the last 66 years. (Re. family, corruption, arrogance and lawlessness). Don’t be mistaken.. CB, RW, SF (even the yellow robed politicians) and all others cannot say that they are all saints..

    RW’s FAMILY (His father) has been manipulating Srilankan politics for a long time..Ask from CB what he (the father) did To Sirimavo in 1964.

    CB’S family already had 3 heads of state and she still has not forgotten the taste. others, even the monks are having ideas of establishing dynasties.. That’s exactly why they want to topple the existing ones.

  • Prem Rathne

    You must be too young to remember 1970-77, period when people had to pick their meals from the dustbins.. or 1985-2005 period (1987-89substet too) when two types of terrorism were there. Are we to go back there?

    Do you honestly believe the New DIS-organization headed/Controlled by ???? CB?, RW?, MS?, MS (yellow)?, AR (yellow)? SF? … has the capability to bring chicken to the mouths of the poor Srilankans, or to do anything else worthwhile for them?? Don’t tell me presidential powers is the most severe burning problem of the poor man who has not tasted chicken. Past performance and experience is a prerequisite for any job. Mind you, This job is quite important for ALL of us.

    Most Srilankans have a very short memory. VP used to say Sinhalaya will forget everything in 3 weeks.

    And I am getting to feel that many Srilankans are missing (and looking forward for) the Score of deaths in daily news bulletins, bomb blasts in public places, sight of white flags on the roads announcing the funerals of members of forces as well as civilian victims of terrorists.

  • ignatius

    we have to change current government,because Mahinda Rajapaksa government ill treating low and middle income people,for all road development projects money taken from raising the price of consumer items,
    and has not made at least 10 manufacturing industries leading to high way roads. we cannot go to duty on time , ,traffic due to road development,ships going in sea but container vessels on the the road making huge traffic,we dont have much imports and exports,they just come for repairs. low income people cannot get a bank loan, so many embargoes. i dont blame his family having luxury life,but not a big bank balance,they should prove how they earn it,what businesses they did to earn massive dollar reserve. M>R> sold parts of Sri lanka to China,it is a purpose of developing the country, we accept this issue. in last budget massive ammount taken to presidents expenses,23 million rupees per day, not acceptable at all. parliament ministers cannot take any decisions to make the country better because [edited out].

    All above issues going to address and make a change by Mathripala Sirisena regeme, nobody likes RANIL WIKRAMASINGHE, [edited out], EVERY BODY LIKES SAJITH PREMADASA and all other UNP Ministers,what a vision they have future of sri lanka,we heard their views through MTV and HIRU TV a non partial TV channels,

  • Granvor P

    Corruption is ploy to get rid of regimes and grab power. Family rule, it’s ok if the work is been done properly. This is the first time we experience development even with corruption but before only corruption that was UNP. Kumarathungas, Jeevan and Ranjan these are all Chandrika’s relatives and from where the hell these got in? Is this not family connections?
    Srilankans don’t allow a good leadership like that of NR to carry on they simply want change or grab power for corruption purposes. The younger people of this country must study the past UNP governments before they vote this time. They would find that both Ranil and Chandrika are no match to MR. In way of initiative and vision. [Edited out] Chandrika is creeping to have another go at it to rob and push her son into politics and another sure disaster to the nation. Coalition is a fake non working idea and full of disagreements within it. MR loves the nation that’s why he got the courage to fight the war to win, against Western maniacs who wanted the terrorism to continue for their entertainment!!!

  • ignatius

    Dear Mr editor can you remove my first blog and post this one.some coreections are made.
    ————————————————————————————————————————

    We have to change current government,because Mahinda Rajapaksa government ill treating low and middle income people,for all road development projects money taken from raising the price of consumer items,
    and has not made at least 10 manufacturing industries leading to high way roads. we cannot go to duty on time , ,traffic due to road development,ships going in sea but container vessels on the the road making huge traffic,we dont have much imports and exports,they just come for repairs. low income people cannot
    get a bank loan, so many embargoes. We dont blame his family having luxury life,but not a big bank balance,they should prove how they earn it,what businesses they did to earn massive dollar reserve. M>R> sold parts of Sri lanka to China,it is a purpose of developing the country, we accept this issue. in last budget massive ammount taken to presidents expenses,23 million rupees per day, not acceptable at all.
    parliament ministers cannot take any decisions to make the country better because IF PRESIDENT`S MONOP0LY RULING.
    All above issues going to address and make a change by Maithripala Sirisena regeme, Nobody likes RANIL WIKRAMASINGHE,once ranil was youth mister half of youth population vanished from Sri lanka due to war with LTTE and jvp rebels, once ranil was inustial minister industries boomed and vanished
    in Sri lanka,once Ranil was Prime minister he gave North of sri lanka to LTTE with a Deed.year 2014 December also he is saying we will do someting for youth, we know what you can do for youth inside the office,some Sin of Him affecting sri lanka badly,for the sake of goodwill of Sri lanka can Ranil be opt out from politics.
    EVERY BODY LIKES SAJITHPREMADASA and all other UNP Ministers,what a visionthey have future of sri lanka,we heard their views throughSIRASA TV and HIRU TV a non partial TV channels,

  • Israel

    Common guys…

    There is NO terrorism
    There is development infrastructure
    Stable currency
    its a beautiful and a cleaner country
    we have got the second and third satellites inline for the launch

    Corruption is there (and it was there all along) but this time its within the family… thats whats bothering most of the people who are leaving the family party and joining the common party (hoping to get a piece of the cake)

    RW and MR were together all the time..

    personally the the 2 were together all their political lives and and one was a better stronger person and came on top… the other climbs on the opposition and try to beat the stronger one….

    [Edited out]

  • Alahapperuma

    Common opposition with different political parties with different visions and different characters will be having differences if they win. The unity of the common opposition is quite uncertain…too much uncertainty among the members, their ideas and their respective policies. Simply many personalities with too many different ideas.
    If elected will the uncertainty of the common front will effect the unity, and the stability of the nation? Some famous personalities from the common front are using this situation to gain power. Unfortunately when they were in power their performence was very poor. The corruption was not better than now and law and order was aslo neglected.

    Sri Lanka was suffering 30 years due to the war. Since the war ended the economy is growing
    The economic growth is the best in south east asia. The people can move around the country
    without any fear. The poverty is decreasing. The unemployment is decreasing. GDP is growing.

    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t… 

    So why change and give the ball to our old players whose performence was worse than the present government,
    I am for a change if capable personalities are involved. Unfortunately it is not the case. They have put someone as a common candidate and all the old faces are hiding behind him and promising endless wonders. These promises will bring lot of troubles to the national security.
    Some promises if not fulfilled can danger the national harmony. Are we promoting riots because of those empty promises.
    Under present circumstances it is better not to change.
    Why cange a winning team?

  • Chathura

    Don’t change if change is bad…

  • sampa

    why don’t vimal werawansa speaking in jafna