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Press Release

Number of Sri Lankans thinking country is heading in the wrong direction continues to increase
4 in 5 Sri Lankans think country is in the wrong track

The latest SLOTS polling estimates show 80% of Sri Lankan adults say that the country is heading in the wrong direction in May 2024 while only 4% say it is on the right track. Public views about whether the country is heading in the wrong direction have trended more negative since July 2023. This change is due to a steady decline in uncommitted respondents since the numbers who think the country is in the right direction have remained below 5%. 

These negative views are widely held, with little difference by gender, income level, urban and rural areas, voting preferences, and people’s views of Aragalaya.

Sri Lankans are more likely to think the country is headed in the wrong direction than in any other country where this is polled. In April-May 2024, a global average of 62% of adults polled in 29 countries thought their country was headed in the wrong direction compared with 96% in Sri Lanka. In contrast, majority of people in Singapore, India and Indonesia think their country is headed in the right direction.

The May 2024 estimates are based on 489 interviews, with estimates adjusted to match the Sri Lankan population for age, sex, education level, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion, geographical location, and sector.

About IHP

IHP is an independent, non-partisan research centre based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The SLOTS lead investigator is Dr Ravi Rannan-Eliya of IHP, who has trained in public opinion polling at Harvard University and has conducted numerous surveys over three decades. 


SLOTS polls the public’s outlook on the overall direction of the country by asking people: “Would you say things in the country are headed in the right direction or the wrong direction?”. Respondents are also allowed not to answer or to say they “Don’t know” or are “Not sure”. The percentages saying the country is moving in the right or wrong directions is based on all those who were interviewed, so numbers for right and wrong tracks will not sum to 100% because of don’t knows and refusals. 

To minimize sample bias, estimates are based on weighting respondents to match the national population for age, sex, sector, ethnicity, religion, education, socioeconomic status ranking, and geographical location. Weighting is done by propensity weighting and iterative proportional fitting (raking).


The SLOTS survey has previously been funded by the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust, the UK National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), The Asia Foundation in Sri Lanka, and others. Current field work is financed by the IHP Public Interest Research Fund and others. The sponsors play no role in the study design, analysis, or interpretation of findings. The survey findings do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of past and present funders. Interested parties can contact IHP for more detailed data and results.


Date: 24 June 2024
Time: 05:00 PM Sri Lanka Time


Email: info ‘at’


Dr. Ravi Rannan-Eliya
Email: ravi ‘at’  Twitter: @ravirannaneliya