IRI Poll: More Than Half of Jordanians Believe Country is Heading in Right Direction
Jordanians remain disinclined to trust their elected representatives. More than half of respondents say they are unsatisfied with the performance of the current parliament. A similar number say that the government has not achieved anything worthy of recognition.
Youth movements inside the country have not left a lasting impression on the majority of Jordanians who say that they are not in favor of street protests. Less than one-third of respondents said they trust these youth movements. At the same time, Jordanians say they are freer to express their opinions.
The poll is the eighth in a series of national studies on democratic change and political reform in Jordan conducted by IRI and the Middle East Marketing and Research Consultants.
Jordanians shared their views on what they deem to be the most important issues and priorities facing Jordan today, their impressions on the performance of the government and parliament, as well as their political priorities and their views of the current economic conditions and quality of life in Jordan.
The poll’s main findings include:
- Sixty percent of Jordanians believe their country is going in the right direction while one quarter believes things are going in the wrong direction. While this hardly reflects any significant change in right direction responses over IRI’s August 2009 poll, Jordanians maintain a positive outlook in spite of the implications of the Arab Spring and the recent developments within the country.
- As has been the case in IRI’s national polls since 2005, Jordanians believe the issues of unemployment, rising prices/high cost of living and poverty are the most important problems facing the country. However, there has been a significant drop since IRI’s last poll in the number of people saying price increases are their top concern. Corruption has reemerged as an important issue, along with bad economic conditions and to a lesser extent water shortages.
- Jordanians’ perceptions about the shape of the economy remained unchanged since the August 2009 poll. Since 2008, there has been a constant minority who describe the current economic conditions as good while a majority of Jordanians describe them as fairly good. Slightly more than one-third describes the current economic condition as bad to very bad.
- Jordanians across the board have felt an upward trend in their personal economic fortunes compared with the August 2009 national poll.
- Since 2009, Jordanians have become more optimistic that the economy will improve over the next 12 months.
- Jordanians continue to express low satisfaction rates across an array of quality of life indicators, including: standard of living, jobs, future financial security, children’s future and the state of the nation. Fairness and equality indicators have slightly regressed from August 2009 levels.
- The Arab Spring has had an impact on Jordan, with fewer Jordanians feeling that they do not have the right to speak their minds about their government’s policies. Almost one in two Jordanians say that the freedom to publicly criticize the government is somewhat guaranteed, while one in 10 say it is fully guaranteed (no change from 2009).
- Youth movements inside the country have not impressed the majority of Jordanians who said they are not in favor of street protests. Only one in five of those aware of youth movements were in favor of taking to the streets. Half of respondents could not recall the names of any of the youth movements, with less than two in five recalling March 24th Movement. More than half of respondents distrust the youth movements, with less than one-third of respondents trusting these movements. Most believe political and public engagement should be left to those experienced, a persisting social stigma in spite of burgeoning youth and protest movements.
- Awareness of various political parties and knowledge of their programs remained stable since previous polls; however, the ongoing public debate on importance of political parties and the possibility of a parliamentary majority government increased the interest in existing political parties and their platforms. The political party with the highest name identification was the Islamic Action Front, which participated in public protests and demonstrations.
- Jordanians remain disinclined to trust their elected representatives. More than half of respondents say they are unsatisfied with the performance of the current parliament that was just elected in November 2010, with a small minority saying they are satisfied. Three-quarters say that the parliament has not achieved anything worthy of recognition.
- Approval ratings for the current government are not much better than those of parliament, with only one in 10 Jordanians fully satisfied with its performance. More than half of Jordanians say that the government has not achieved anything worthy of recognition. This is one of the lowest ratings for incumbent governments in Jordan’s history.
There is major skepticism about the government’s ability to implement what Jordanians see as the country’s main priorities: economic reform and fighting corruption; political reform is the third priority and trails distantly behind the first two. One in 10 Jordanians believes political reform is a priority compared to one in two who believe economic reform and one in three fighting corruption.
A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, IRI advances freedom and democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, democratic governance and the rule of law.