In continuation of the research project launched by the Center for Strategic Studies in 1993, the Center carried out an opinion poll on democracy in Jordan during the period April 21-26, 1996. This was the third poll conducted by the Center on democracy. The other two were conducted in 1993 and 1995.
The poll’s objective was to discern citizens’ views on democracy in Jordan by asking them questions on the political parties and press and publications laws, as well as the amendments that should be introduced to any new parliamentary elections law. The poll also aimed to determine the people’s evaluation of the achievements of the Lower House of Parliament, their views and stands on political parties, and freedom of the press. Questions also included forms of social participation outside the context of political parties, and readership of daily and weekly newspapers in addition to readership of columnists. The poll sample included 1,200 respondents.
The results for this poll showed that the statistical mean for democracy on a scale of 10 was 4.55 points, compared to 4.83 points in 1995 and 4.6 points in 1993.
Regarding the respondents’ views on laws governing parliamentary elections, political parties and the press and publications laws and their influence in enhancing the democratization process in Jordan, 43.8% said they consider the parliamentary elections law a substantial step to a great extent, 15.4% said they consider the Political Parties Law a substantial step to a great extent, and 30.6% said they consider the Press and Publications Law a substantial step to a great extent.
Regarding the issue of introducing amendments to the Political Parties Law, 46% of the respondents said they prefer that the law remain as it is. Regarding the Press and Publications Law, 51.4% said they prefer to keep it as it is. Of the total number of respondents, 61.2% said they support increasing the Lower House of Parliament seats from 80 to 100 seats, 55.6% supported allowing the military to vote, 58.5% and 68.3% said they support allocating seats for minorities and women, respectively. Of the male respondents 75.3% and of the female respondents 77.3% said they would vote in the coming parliamentary elections in 1997. On the performance of the Lower House of Parliament, 48.5% said they were slightly satisfied.
On political parties, 2.3% of the respondents said political parties were greatly successful in their work, and 1.3% said that they had once belonged to a political party, while 2% said they intend to join a political party.
Of the respondents, 10.1% said they are affiliated to social, cultural or sports organizations, unions, etc.
52.3% of the respondents said they read daily newspapers, and 38.5% read weekly newspapers.