In continuation of the research project launched by the Center for Strategic Studies in 1993 the Center conducted an opinion poll on democracy in Jordan during the period May 22-29, 1998. This is the fifth survey to be carried out by the Center on the issue. The previous four were carried out in 1993, 1995, 1996 and 1997.
The survey’s objective was to ascertain citizens’ positions on the democratization process and show changes in their attitudes compared to previous polls, in addition to identifying the efficacy of civic society organizations in providing the proper frameworks for political and social participation to pave the way for achieving a homogeneous civic society.
The poll covered a representative sample 1,486 respondents.
The statistical mean for the respondents’ answers on the level of democracy in Jordan reached 4.91 points on a scale of 10.
Of the total number of respondents, 57.88% said guaranteeing various freedoms was the main factor for judging democracy in any country; 14.6% and 2.6% said that the freedom of expression was guaranteed to a great extent and to a medium extent, respectively; 22.4% and 48.4% said that the freedom of the press was guaranteed to a great extent and to a medium extent, respectively; 35.7% said that the freedom to take part in demonstrations was not guaranteed; 31.4% said that the freedom to participate in sit-ins was not guaranteed; 15.3% and 25.4% said that the freedom to join political parties was guaranteed to a great extent and medium extent, respectively; 23.4% said that the freedom to join political parties was not guaranteed; 19.3% and 45.6% said that equality in Jordan had reached high and medium levels, respectively; 29.5% and 42.6% said that justice in Jordan had reached high and medium levels, respectively; 3.6% and 22.1% said that political parties’ work was successful to a great extent and to a medium extent, respectively; and 1.3% said they had been affiliated to a political party at some time.
On participation in civic society organizations, 15.4% of the respondents aged 19 and older said they were active in such organizations, compared to 11.8% in 1997. In addition, 68.7% said they supported obligatory membership to such organizations, compared to 80% in 1997.
On the role of women in various fields, 17% and 38.5% said women’s participation in government was effective to a great and medium extent, respectively, 21.4% said their role was active to a low extent, and 14% said their role was not active.
Regarding broadcast media, 95.6% said they owned television sets, 12.2% owned satellite dishes, 74% watched television once or more weekly for a period exceeding half an hour preceding the interview, 56.2% watched television the preceding day for more than half an hour, and 46.2% watched news for a period exceeding 15 minutes. Of the total number of respondents, 63.2%, 61.9% and 61.3% said they consider television a reliable source of respectively, local, Arab and international political news respectively.
Concerning print media, 40.3% said they read daily newspapers, 59.7% said they did not read dailies; 13.8% said they read columnists of daily newspapers, 86.2% did not read columnists; 18.3% said they read weekly newspapers, 81.5% said they did not read weekly newspapers; 2.9% read columnists of weeklies, 97.1% do not read these columnists.