Data including Colombian’s party affiliation, confidence in political institutions, satisfaction with public services and public education, and the perception of freedom of speech are part of a huge database that anyone can now be consult.
Thanks to the Americas Barometer, which is led by Universidad de los Andes under the Democracy Observatory, any Colombian can now freely and efficiently access the country’s public opinion surveys.
The Americas Barometer is the main public opinion study for the Americas. Since 2004, the Democracy Observatory, part of the Department of Political Science at the university, has annually published reports, to begin with in book format and on their website. However, in attempt to provide greater reach, the reports are now presented more dynamically, with simpler language and the possibility of cross-referencing information.
An effort was made to thematically separate information in order to facilitate searches. As such, it is possible to access information on Colombian’s opinions in five areas: Peace, Post-conflict and reconciliation, Attitudes and opinions of Colombian women, Democracy and institutions, Inequality, and Discrimination.
The purpose of this information is also so that the citizens can, in some way, own it. Miguel García Sánchez, associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Los Andes and co-director of the Democracy Observatory, says that, “Although the data have been periodically published, we realized that this micro-data was not easily understood or used by the average person. For this reason, we devised this way of making one-off, quick, and simple searches.”
As well as separating the report into thematic areas, the new resource offers the possibility to cross-reference information.
Each one of the report’s thematic areas include a series of related variables, which can be selected from a drop-down menu. The system generates a simple graph with the result using which it is possible to cross-reference information with information such as sex, age, urban or rural area, level of education, and region.
For example, if you consult the country’s main problem, according to the perception of those surveyed, the system generates a pie chart with information relating to the conflict, followed by the economy, and then security. When this is cross-referenced with age, a graph will appear that is much more descriptive and shows the perception of the people surveyed based on if they are senior citizens, adults, or young people.
After searching, the user can download the result or share it on social networks.
If the person wants to see how the variable selected has evolved since 2004, they can click on the Trends tab and then select the specific year to make the comparison.
Professor García Sánchez adds that, “As well as providing information that can be used as an input for academic research in the university, the idea is that it is also available to decision-makers, the public sector, student media, and the general public.”
About the study
The Americas Barometer survey is conducted annually and involves 1,500 people from 47 municipalities throughout the whole country. The questionnaires have more than 200 questions and are asked face-to-face in homes.
In even years there is a national sample and in odd years there are special samples about a particular topic of national interest such as Afro-Colombia and post-conflict rural Colombia. All the data from these samples is freely available.
García Sánchez points out that America Barometer is relevant as it offers reliable and regular information on what has been called the ‘political culture of democracy’ and how opinions, attitudes, and some behaviors are compared to citizens from other countries in the region.
The Democracy Observatory is the center for academic research, public opinion and political and social behavior analysis: part of the Department of Political Science at the Universidad de los Andes. It is directed by professors and researchers Juan Carlos Rodríguez Raga and Miguel García Sánchez from the university.
Click here for the Americas Barometer Colombia 2016 results.
Access to the full report here.