Amman, Jordan – Although a majority of Jordanians says that their country is moving in the right direction, IRI’s latest national poll (analysis) shows that rising cost of living still tops the public’s list of priorities and almost half of Jordanians describe a downward trend in their personal economic fortunes during the past year. Jordanians remain disinclined to trust their elected representatives: The current parliament receives low approval ratings and more than two-thirds of respondents believe that the parliament is not representative of all Jordanians. Significant percentages of respondents want to see changes in key aspects of the current parliamentary electoral system. Notably, Jordanians are almost evenly split over whether they prefer the current system, which allows one vote for the candidate that is most preferred by the voter, or an electoral system where every voter is allowed a number of votes equal to the number of seats in the voter’s district.
The current poll is the seventh in a series of national surveys on democratic transformation and political reform in Jordan produced by the IRI and Middle East Marketing and Research Consultants. Jordanians shared their views on what they see as the most important issues and priorities facing the country today, their opinion of the government’s and parliament’s job performance, their perceptions and preferences concerning the current elections law, their voting behavior and political preferences and their attitudes towards the current economic situation and quality of life in Jordan.
The poll’s main findings include:
- More than half of Jordanians believe their country is going in the right direction while less than a third believes things are going in the wrong direction. This reflects a significant improvement in right direction responses over IRI’s August 2008 poll when nearly one-half of respondents said the country was going in the wrong direction.
- As has been the case in IRI’s national polls since 2005, Jordanians believe the issue of rising prices/rising cost of living is the most important problem facing the country followed distantly by unemployment. However, there has been a significant drop since IRI’s last poll in the number of people saying price increases are their top concern. Water shortage has replaced poverty as the third most important issue on Jordanians’ minds.
- Jordanians are more positive about the shape of the economy than they were last year. A majority of Jordanians describe the current economic situation as very good or somewhat good.
- However, Jordanians are evenly split as to whether the economy will improve over the next 12 months and almost half of Jordanians describe a downward trend in their personal economic fortunes during the past year.
- Moreover, Jordanians continue to express low satisfaction rates across an array of quality of life indicators such as standard of living, jobs, future financial security, their children’s future and the state of the nation.
- In times of continuing economic distress, many Jordanians feel they do not have the right to speak their minds about their government’s policies. Almost one in two Jordanians says that the freedom to publicly criticize the government is not guaranteed.
- Jordanians remain disinclined to trust their elected representatives. More than half of respondents say they are unsatisfied with the performance of the current parliament elected in November 2007; a small minority say they are satisfied. Three-quarters say that the parliament has not achieved anything of recognition.
- Approval ratings for the current government are not much better with only one in five Jordanians fully satisfied with its performance. Almost half of Jordanians say that the government has not achieved anything worthy of recognition.
- If parliamentary elections were held today, the vast majority of Jordanians would continue to vote for independent candidates (those who are not aligned with any political party). However, intention to vote for political party candidates increased slightly since the last poll, as has support for the opposition Islamic Action Front in particular.
- Only a small minority of respondents says that the Kingdom’s parliament is representative of all Jordanians; while a much larger percentage says that it is barely or not at all representative.
- With regard to how parliamentary elections should be organized in Jordan, a majority of Jordanians prefer that the country have larger electoral districts with multiple seats rather than smaller districts with one seat each.
- Jordanians are almost evenly split over whether they prefer the current electoral system, which allows one vote for the candidate that is most preferred by the voter, or an electoral system where every voter is allowed a number of votes equal to the number of seats in the voter’s district.
- A majority of respondents prefer that the number of voters per parliamentary seat be the same in all districts; whereas approximately one-third prefers the current system which allows some districts to have fewer voters per-seat than other districts to ensure representation for smaller, underdeveloped communities.
- One in four respondents is in favor of adding a quota for registered political parties to a new parliamentary elections law. Two-thirds are against this option.
- Nearly half of Jordanians believe that the six-seat quota for women in the current electoral law should remain as it is, while one-quarter believe the number of quota seats should be increased. Another quarter believes the women’s quota should be abolished.
The poll, conducted August 8-11, 2009, interviewed 1,000 Jordanian citizens, both men and women, at 100 sites randomly selected throughout the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The poll has a margin of error of ±2.5 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.Top