65pc Tanzanians prevailing with poor economic situation THISDAY REPORTER Dar es Salaam MORE than two thirds of Tanzanians are not satisfied with the countrys current direction, with at least half describing the prevailing situation as bad, according to a new opinion poll released this week by a US think tank. A survey of 24 countries conducted by the non-partisan Pew Research Centre showed that 65 per cent of Tanzanians are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country right now. The trend shows that dissatisfaction with the countrys direction was 55 per cent in 2002, and dropped to 52 per cent last year, only to shoot up to 65 per cent this year. Dissatisfaction with the general direction of ones country is not new - Pew trend data shows it typically dominates the public mood in most countries, say the researchers in the survey released on Thursday. The survey shows that 18 of 24 countries surveyed worldwide are dissatisfied with the way things are going in their respective countries. In Lebanon, dissatisfaction is nearly universal (92 per cent not happy with their countrys direction) while there is a much smaller population of dissatisfied citizens in Australia (31 per cent) and China (11 per cent). The poll discovered that there is also growing concern among the majority of Tanzanians about the state of the national economy. Around 51 per cent of people in Tanzania feel that the countrys current economic situation is bad. China has the highest rating, with 82 per cent of its citizens saying they are in good times. While the surveyed public in Tanzania hold negative views of the countrys prevailing economic situation and direction, optimism about the future is not absent. The majority of Tanzanians (41 per cent) believe that the nations economy will improve over the next 12 months, while 28 per cent think it will actually worsen and 19 per cent say it will remain the same. The situation is substantially more pessimistic, however, in a number of countries. More than half in both Britain (55 per cent) and Turkey (55 per cent) anticipate that economic conditions will worsen in the next 12 months, while fewer in either country (14 per cent) expect things to get better, say the research findings. The survey also shows that 52 per cent of Tanzanians rate their personal financial situations as bad. On international trade, 43 per cent of the people in Tanzania showed very good enthusiasm for increasing trade and economic integration. However, 67 per cent of the surveyed Tanzanian population said they opposed foreign ownership of domestic companies. Only 32 per cent of the people in Tanzania said they supported foreigners buying domestic companies. Americas image among Tanzanians has significantly improved over the past year, possibly as a result of the February 2008 visit by President George W. Bush to the country during which he signed a $698m (approx. 800bn/-) aid package with President Jakaya Kikwete. Some 65 per cent of Tanzanians said they had a favourable view of the US this year, a strong increase from 2007 when just 46 per cent of citizens were happy with the worlds dominant economic power. Overall, the US evokes negative reactions among the Muslim population included in the study. Tanzanias Muslim population is the only one in which the majority rates the US favourably, according to the poll results. At 65 per cent, US favourability is up 19 percentage points since last year, the largest gain among the 21 countries for which trend data are available, statistics show. Based on results from Muslim respondents in the country, 56 per cent of Muslims in the country hold a positive view of the US, up from just 41 per cent of Muslims in 2007. Anti-US sentiments are highest among Lebanese Shia, with a whopping 98 per cent of them having unfavourable views of the super power. On the US presidential election, greater numbers of people express confidence in the Democratic Party nominee Barack Obama rather than Republican candidate John McCain. The survey also found a widespread belief that US foreign policy �will change for the better� after the inauguration of a new American president next year. Among Tanzanians who have been following the election, 65 per cent say they believe US foreign policy will improve after the election. Obama is much more popular than McCain in Tanzania and other East African countries, thanks to his family ties in neighbouring Kenya. While 84% of Tanzanians believe he will do the right thing in international affairs, just half say this about his Republican rival. Results for the survey are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. In Tanzania, the survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews with adults aged 18 and above between March 31 and April 16 this year. The adult population sample size was 704, with a 4 per cent margin of error.