Afghanistan Poll: Where Things Stand 2010


POPPY -- Views on opium poppy remain problematic. On one hand 63 percent say it's never acceptable to grow the crop, of which Afghanistan is the world's largest producer. But that leaves 36 percent who say it is acceptable, either in all cases (9 percent) or when there's no other way to make a living (27 percent).

In Helmand, the top opium-producing province by far, the tables turn - just 36 percent call poppy cultivation unacceptable in all cases. It's 42 percent in the top seven poppy-growing provinces; that jumps to 67 percent in the rest of the country, where there's little or no poppy cultivation.

PROFILE -- Finally, other results in this study draw a profile of the basics of life in Afghanistan and its many challenges. Forty-six percent are illiterate. Fifty-six percent have no formal education whatsoever; just 15 percent have gone through senior high school or beyond.

Three-quarters of Afghans live in rural areas. Of those with employment (nearly all men, and very few women), 53 percent are farmers, farm laborers or unskilled workers; another two in 10, skilled workers or artisans. Fifty-seven percent report incomes equaling $100 a month or less. Just 39 percent say they can afford to buy all or some of the food they need.

Only slightly over a quarter of the country's population gets its electricity from power lines; in an advance, most of those who do (six in 10) report that it stays on all day, up 13 points. But that leaves 28 percent who rely on either private or shared generators for power -- and 44 percent of the country's population with no electricity at all.

METHODOLOGY -- This ABC News/BBC/ARD/Washington Post poll is based on in-person interviews with a random national sample of 1,691 Afghan adults from Oct. 29-Nov. 13, 2010. The results have a 3.5-point error margin. Field work by ACSOR, the Afghan Center for Socio-Economic and Opinion Research in Kabul, a subsidiary of D3 Systems Inc. of Vienna, Va. Design, management and analysis for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York.

Regions are defined in this survey as follows: North: Balkh, Faryab, Jawzjan, Samangan, Sari Pul Northeast: Badakhshan, Baghlan, Kunduz, Takhar East: Kunar, Laghman, Nangarhar, Nuristan Central East: Kabul, Kapisa, Logar, Panjshir, Parwan Central: Bamiyan, Ghazni, Wardak Northwest: Badghis, Farah, Ghor, Herat Southeast: Khost, Paktia, Paktika Southwest: Daykundi, Helmand, Kandahar, Nimroz, Uruzgan, Zabul

Designations of conflict zones by NightWatch, an open-source analysis project of KGS, a Virginia-based intelligence and business management contractor.

High conflict: Helmand, Kandahar, Ghazni Improving: Uruzgan, Zabul, Farah, Kabul, Logar Worsening: Baghlan, Kunduz, Takhar, Kunar, Nangarhar, Wardak, Badghis, Herat, Khost, Paktia, Paktika Low violence: Daykundi, Nimroz, Ghor, Bamiyan, Kapisa, Panjshir, Parwan, Laghman, Nuristan, Badakshan, Balkh, Faryab, Jawzjan, Samangan, Sari Pul

Click here for details on the survey methodology, here for charts on the results, here for photos from the field and here for a summary of all polls in ABC's ongoing "Where Things Stand" series in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Click here for a PDF with the full analysis, questionnaire, trend data, and charts.

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