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Optimism and radios in Ghana

Ghanaians are devout optimists who are politically active and expect a lot from their government. Those are some of the conclusions to draw from recently published survey results from the Afrobarometer, a nonprofit polling project.

Afrobarometer regularly conducts polls about economic, political and social issues in 20 African states. Last March, 1,200 Ghanaians were randomly selected for interviews, with a 50 percent gender quota. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent.

Here are some of the results:

  • Nearly three-fourths of respondents said their living conditions would be better or much better in the next 12 months.
  • Sixty-five percent of those surveyed get their news from radio every day. Only 10 percent read a newspaper every day.
  • Sixty-nine percent of those interviewed said they agree or strongly agree with this statement: “People are like children; the government should take care of them like a parent.” Twenty-seven percent said they agree or strongly agree with the other option: “Government is like an employee; the people should be the bosses who control the government.”
  • Seventy-two percent chose the statement “divine intervention is responsible for Ghana’s achievement over the years,” compared to 25 percent agreeing that “creativity and discipline of Ghanaians are the major factors for Ghana’s success.”
  • Eighty-seven percent of respondents never use a computer.
  • Sixty-five percent of city dwellers interviewed said they use a cell phone every day, compared to 29 percent of people who live in a rural area.
  • Nearly one in four people interviewed said they had no formal schooling, and just 1 percent were university graduates. Just 12 percent of women finished high school, compared to 18 percent of men interviewed.
  • Eighty-one percent of respondents said they voted in the 2004 elections. has lots more information.