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‘Majority optimistic about future but numbers dwindling’

By Khetam Malkawi - Nov 22,2016 - Last updated at Nov 22,2016

AMMAN — Jordanians are less optimistic about the direction of their country than they were in September, but optimists remain a majority, according to a poll.

The survey, conducted by the University of Jordan’s Centre for Strategic Studies (CSS) between November 9 and 19 and released Tuesday, found that 52 per cent of the national sample believe that matters in the Kingdom are going in the right direction, compared to 57 per cent in a similar poll conducted by the CSS in September.

Of this sample, 45 per cent believe that the situation is going in the wrong direction, up from 39 per cent in September’s poll.

The survey polled 2,000 Jordanians over 18 and a smaller group of 700 “opinion leaders” such as political figures, academics and journalists about the government’s performance and other current issues.

Findings showed that 58 per cent of opinion leaders believe matters are going in the right direction in the country, with no change in the rate compared to September’s findings. Of this sample, 36 per cent believe that the situation is going in the wrong direction, 1 per cent up, compared to the last poll.

Unemployment, poverty, high prices and the economic situation in general topped the issues of concern to the surveyed sample — both the national sample and opinion leaders.

As for the government’s performance, 44 per cent of the national sample and 48 per cent of the opinion leaders said they believe the government will be able to shoulder its responsibilities. 

Meanwhile, some 43 per cent of the surveyed members of the public expressed their confidence that Prime Minister Hani Mulki is capable of shouldering his responsibilities, compared with 56 per cent of opinion leaders.

This poll also surveyed Jordanians on whether members of the government are capable of handling issues assigned to them in the Royal Letter of Designation.

Results showed that 72 per cent of the national sample believe that the government is capable of countering terrorism militarily, ideologically and security-wise, compared to 73 per cent of the opinion leaders.

Meanwhile, 68 per cent of the national sample said the government is capable of supporting the armed forces and security agencies, compared to 75 per cent of the opinion leaders.

National sample respondents, however, were less optimistic on the government’s performance regarding solving the unemployment challenge, as only 28 per cent said the government is capable of fighting this challenge. The percentage was 22 per cent among opinion leaders.

Only 15 per cent of the public said the economic situation improved last year, compared to 12 per cent who were asked the same question in the September poll. 

Among opinion leaders, just 7 per cent said the economy had improved, down from 9 per cent in the earlier poll.

The poll also tackled the parliamentary elections that took place in September and their integrity and transparency. Out of the national sample, 55 per cent of respondents said the elections were transparent, compared to 66 per cent of the opinion leaders.

Asked about the major issue that the current Parliament should address, 39 per cent of the national sample said it is unemployment, while only 15 per cent of opinion leaders agreed.

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