In continuation of the research project started by the Center for Strategic Studies, the CSS carried out an opinion poll on democracy in Jordan 1997 during the period May 19-26, 1997.
The poll aimed to define citizens’ views of the democratization process as well as changes in attitudes compared to the findings of earlier polls, in addition to evaluating the effectiveness of civic society institutions in organizing public participation within certain frameworks to pave the way for the development of civic society.
The Center was keen to ensure that the poll’s sample of 1,200 respondents be balanced, i.e. all segments of society had equal chances of being represented in the poll.
The results showed that the statistical mean for democracy stood at 4.88 points on a scale of 10, compared to 4.55 points in 1996, 4.83 points in 1995, and 4.58 in 1993.
Regarding the respondents’ views on indicators for democracy, 16.9% and 46.2% said that the freedom of expression was guaranteed to a great extent and medium extent, respectively; 14% and 22.6% said the freedom to join political parties was guaranteed to a great extent and medium extent, respectively; and 22.6% that the freedom to join parties was not guaranteed. Concerning equality and justice in Jordan, 21.2% and 41.3% said equality in Jordan was satisfactory to a great extent and medium extent, respectively, while 15% said there was no justice, and 29.2% and 39.1% said justice in Jordan was satisfactory to a great extent and medium extent, respectively.
The results also showed that 2.9% and 14.8% of the respondents believed that political parties’ work was successful to a great extent and to a medium extent, respectively; 1% of the respondents said they once belonged to a political party, 97.8% said they had never belonged to a party, 4% said they intended to joint a party, 94.6% said they did not intend to do so.
On the achievements of the Lower House of Parliament elected in 1993, 43.4% said they were satisfied with the achievements of the deputies to a low extent, 32.4% said they were not satisfied with this House, 40.6% said they were not satisfied at all.
Concerning the Parliamentary Elections Law, 20.9% said they were in favor of increasing the number of seats in the Lower House, 47.2% were in favor of lowering the voting age to 18 years instead of 19 years, 48.5% were in favor of allowing the military to vote, 49.1% were in favor of allocating seats for minority groups, and 62.4% were in favor of allocating seats for women. Additionally, 11.8% of the respondents 19 years of age or older said they were active in civic society organizations.
Of the total number of respondents, 22.8% supported restricting the work of professional associations and limiting it to professional matters, while 23.3% were opposed to this measure.
On newspaper readership, 34.2% said they read daily newspapers, 65.8% said they did not; 8.4 per cent said they read columnists in daily newspapers, 91.6 said they did not; 16.9% said they read weekly newspapers, and 83.1 said they did not.