The percentage of Afghans 'very satisfied' with President Ashraf Ghani's performance in office has plummeted by 54 percent in his first 100 days, according to a new survey conducted by TOLOnews and ATR Consulting.
Only 27.5 percent of Afghans identified as 'very satisfied' with Ghani's performance, marking a dramatic drop fom the 59.9 percent who reported being 'very satisfied' after the president's first month in office.
With just 100 days under the belt of Ghani's national unity government, the sharp decline in public approval numbers comes in tandem with growing criticism among Afghan political and civil society leaders who say Ghani has failed to follow through on his campaign promises. But the extent to which Ghani's job satisfaction rating as dropped in such a short time is likely to be seen as the biggest rebuke of his performance yet.
"How satisfied are you with President Ashraf Ghani's performance?" was the question posed to 2,448 randomly selected respondents, who included both men and women in all 34 provinces. Reached by phone between December 27, 2014 and January 3, 2015, the respondents were asked to choose one of four possible answers; 'Very satisfied', 'Moderately satisfied', 'Not satisfied at all' or 'No opinion'.
The poll results indicate 30.4 percent of the Afghan population is 'moderately satisfied' with President Ghani's performance, while the largest portion of those surveyed - 32 percent - said that they were 'not satisfied at all'. Just one tenth of the respondents had 'no opinion' about Ghani's performance.
The survey also measured the degree to which Afghans were hopeful that President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah would be able to cooperate. Results show 32.5 percent of respondents replied that they were 'very hopeful' for cooperation between the national unity government leaders, who ran a close race against each other in 2013's turbulent presidential election. Meanwhile, 24.2 percent of respondents said they were 'moderately hopeful' and 20.3 percent said they were 'not hopeful'.
The last question of the survey addressed recent controversy over the labels used by government leaders for referring to the Taliban. Although President Hamid Karzai received heavier criticism in his last years in office for referring to Taliban militants as "brothers," Ghani has been the subject of some pushback since calling the group the "political opposition" in his first few months in office, which saw a flurry of aggressive insurgent attacks and offensives around the country.
According to the survey, 19 percent of Afghans believe that the Taliban should be described as 'enemies of the state', while 16.3 percent suggested 'terrorist' as the most fitting description. Coming in a close third, 15.3 percent of respondents said that 'angry brothers' would be the most appropriate label for the Taliban. Finally, just 12.9 percent endorsed Ghani's terminology of 'political opposition'.
The survey is the second poll gauging public perceptions of Ghani's performance that has been published since the national unity government took power in September of last year. The first took place after the president had been in office for a month, and the third is scheduled to take place after the president's first 200 days in office are complete.
The most recent poll comes amid a wave of criticism of the new government from Parliament, civil society groups and the general public. The inability to form a new cabinet within the first 100 days, as well as unemployment and the country's rapidly deteriorating security situation have been the points of greatest concern.