Amman, Jordan – For the first time since IRI began polling in July 2005, more Jordanians say their country is going in the wrong direction than in the right direction, a reflection of their increased worries about the general economic situation.
The poll (analysis) is the sixth 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 (MEMRC). Jordanians shared their views on what they see as the most important issues and priorities facing the country today, their opinion of the parliament’s job performance, their knowledge of the recently-passed Public Assembly 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:
- When asked to assess their economic situation, an overwhelming majority of Jordanians paint a very gloomy picture of current economic conditions, describe a downward trend in their economic fortunes during the past 12 months and express pessimism that the situation will change for the better in the next 12 months.
- Moreover, Jordanians express very 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 an effort to make ends meet, a majority of Jordanians have reduced their spending, cut down on basic needs, bought on credit or dipped into their savings, all signs of reduced economic livelihood. Almost two-thirds of respondents say they have sought assistance from either family or state-run welfare and charity programs.
- And in these times of economic distress, fewer Jordanians feel they have the right to speak their minds about their government’s policies. Almost one-half of respondents say that the freedom to publicly criticize the government is not guaranteed in Jordan, a significant increase over IRI’s fifth national public opinion poll, released in October 2007.
- Jordanians feel less inclined 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 worthy of recognition.
- Public awareness of the recent amendments to the Public Assembly Law, a key parameter of the citizen’s right of assembly in Jordan, is low. This could be connected to a lack of interest in public policy in general or the workings of the parliament in specific, or a failure by the media and government to raise awareness and understanding of the significance of the amendments.
- 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). Intention to vote for political party candidates in general continues to decline, as does support for the opposition Islamic Action Front in particular.
With regards to tackling unemployment, although many Jordanians are aware of the three main vocational training and employment programs run by the government, very few have bothered to apply.
IRI is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing democracy, freedom, self-government and the rule of law worldwide. IRI programs are nonpartisan and adhere to the fundamental principles of individual freedom, equal opportunity and the entrepreneurial spirit that fosters economic development.Top