Samoa launches survey results on political attitudes

PHOTO: Samoa Police Service

A pioneering survey of popular political attitudes in the Pacific – the Pacific Attitudes Survey (PAS) Samoa – is being launched this week.

The PAS gauges the views of ordinary Samoan citizens on a range of questions related to democracy, economics, governance, tradition, trust in institutions, climate change, social media, and international relations.

The survey was conducted in Samoa from December 2020-January 2021 by the National University of Samoa (NUS), drawing on a nationally representative sample of 1319 Samoans of voting-age. The Pacific Attitudes Survey: Samoa report represents the culmination of a three-way partnership between the Australian National University, the National University of Samoa, and Swinburne University of Technology and was funded by the Australian government.

While large-scale popular political attitudes surveys have been conducted globally for several decades, the Pacific region has remained a notable exception, until now.

Drawing upon core modules of the popular Global Barometer Survey (GBS) to allow for international comparability, the PAS also adds a host of new questions of specific relevance pertinent to Pacific contexts.

Findings from the PAS provide an important frame of reference for key issues in Pacific politics; including how ordinary citizens engage with and trust their political institutions, their broader understandings of democracy and tradition, and attitudes to key issues like climate change.

NUS Professor Ioana Chan Mow praises the partnership. “The strength of the findings in the Pacific Attitudes Survey report underlines a genuinely collaborative and rewarding three-way partnership between ANU, SUT and NUS.”

According to Professor Michael Leach, the survey bridges the gap in the lack of available data. “The Pacific Attitudes Survey: Samoa gives voice to ordinary Samoan citizens in comparative international debates where there has previously been a lack of popular attitudinal data, said Professor Mow.