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Cablegate: Survey Finds President Obama Is Most

VZCZCXRO3035
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1125/01 3561539
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 221539Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0479
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1326
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 2984
RUEHBZ/AMEMBASSY BRAZZAVILLE 0175

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 001125

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR, RRU, IIP/G/AF, IIP/T/GIC, AF/C, AF/PDPA

E.O.12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM KPAO OIIP OPRC PGOV PREL SCUL CG
SUBJECT: SURVEY FINDS PRESIDENT OBAMA IS MOST
POPULAR POLITICIAN IN KINSHASA

KINSHASA 00001125 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: A recent public-opinion survey found President
Barack Obama is the most popular political figure in Kinshasa, but
obtained just two votes more than his nearest rival, President
Joseph Kabila. Other findings in the survey attest to the pervasive
impact of television, especially among young and female audiences.
Radio listenership in Kinshasa experienced a loss in audience share,
particularly among women who stay at home. Newspapers also showed a
loss in daily readership, and overall they reach only a small
percentage of the population, being particularly weak among youth
and women. End summary.

Obama most popular politician
-----------------------------

2. (SBU) President Barack Obama is the most popular political
figure in Kinshasa, according to Les Experts, one of the more
reputable public opinion and survey research organizations in the
Democratic Republic of Congo. Obama beat out President Joseph
Kabila by two votes in a sample of 1,000 residents of 22 different
neighborhoods in Kinshasa. Microsoft founder Bill Gates was
identified as the third-most popular business figure, behind diamond
dealer and music entrepreneur Didi Kanuani and Governor of Katanga
Province Moise Katumbi.

Television the dominant media
-----------------------------

2. (SBU) Television is watched by 100 percent of the sample, with
79 percent of youth and students (aged 12 and 24) watching
television every evening between 6:00 and 9:00 pm local time. The
five most popular television channels are, in order: Mirador,
Antenne A, RTNC1, RTGA, and Congo Web TV. The most popular programs
are local soap operas, news, Nigerian films, music, and sports.

Radio has less impact than in Kinshasa
--------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Kinshasa residents listen to radio much less than their
compatriots in provincial cities and rural areas, where television
broadcast signals can be weak or non-existent. Radio listenership
in Kinshasa registered an 8 percent decline of audience from a
previous Les Experts survey. Daily radio listenership decreased by
20 percent among women who stay at home. 23 percent of those
interviewed listen to the radio every day. The majority of daily
radio listeners are white collar managers/professionals who tune in
between 6:00 and 9:00 pm. The most popular radio stations are
Mirador FM, Radio Okapi, RTGA, JD FM and RSM. While popular music
dominates the programming at Mirador, RTGA and JDFM, Okapi is
popular for news broadcasts and RSM for its sermons, religious music
and prayers. Both Radio Okapi and Radio France International
(broadcast from Brazzaville) scored much higher than government
radio RTNC for news listeners.

Newspapers read by few
----------------------

4. (SBU) Newspaper reading continues to decline, with only 3
percent of those interviewed reading a newspaper every day, and 20
percent at least once a month. 13 percent of white collar
managers/professionals report reading one of the ten daily
newspapers, while youth, students, and women who stay at home report
negligible readership rates (1 to 2 percent). The pro-government
"Le Palmares" remains the most popular newspaper, read by 41 percent
of those interviewed, while "Le Potentiel" came in second at 28
percent. "Depeches de Brazzaville," a newspaper from the
Qpercent. "Depeches de Brazzaville," a newspaper from the
neighboring Republic of Congo (just across the Congo river from
Kinshasa), is read by 12 percent of the sample, probably due at
least in part to a cover price that is one tenth of the Kinshasa
papers (200 Congolese francs vs. 2,000).

9. (SBU) Comment: President Obama's popularity is very strong in
the DRC, as this survey indicates. Yet it is difficult to evaluate
how that personal popularity translates into support for U.S.
policies and values. It would be helpful to have measureable
baselines for Congolese opinions and attitudes on U.S. politics and
culture in order to measure effects of Embassy programs and focus
communications efforts more strategically. On a related point, the
results of this survey show the power of television in Kinshasa.
Since newspapers hold the attention of only an elite audience in the
capital, Embassy's press and outreach activities should target
television audiences in Kinshasa and radio listeners in other areas
to enable us to communicate effectively with the masses. End
comment.

KINSHASA 00001125 002.2 OF 002

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