Poll: Majority Of Jordanians Don’t Support Protests, Except If You’re Overthrowing The Government

The Centre for Strategic Studies polled 1,950 Jordanians on the state of the country, and the results were quite interesting. I won’t go in to the gritty details but some of the numbers that stood out for me included one where 60% of those polled believe the country is going in the right direction and 25% believe the opposite is true. I don’t much stock in that particular question, whatever the result may be, given that it is usually too broad and yields too conventional a response. But the more interesting numbers had to do with the judicial system.

According to the survey, 63 per cent of Jordanians believed that the executive authority and its bodies interfered in judicial rulings in 2011, compared with 56 per cent in 2010. Moreover, 61 per cent of the polled sample said individuals with political and economic influence also interfered in court decisions, compared with 55 per cent in 2010.

With court cases and rulings regarding corruption being the center piece of events in the past year, it is quite interesting to see how many Jordanians believe that our judicial system is not independent, and that such cases were politically-motivated or driven. That consensus does not bode well for the state of the rule of law in Jordan.

As for free speech and expression:

Around one-third (32 per cent) of the 1,950 respondents believed they could criticise the government in the open, a 13 per cent increase over last year’s figure. Regarding the best way to change government policy, 33 per cent of the respondents said demonstrations were the best option, 10 per cent favoured dialogue with the government and 7 per cent favoured using the media. Also, 78 per cent of the polled sample believe that public rallies are the most appropriate way to change a government should the need arise, although more than 90 per cent said resorting to violence to achieve this goal was not acceptable.

Even after a year of demonstrations and public criticism, the overwhelming majority of those polled still believe they cannot criticize the government openly (but I suppose it depends on what you mean by “government”). Moreover, the majority also do not favor demonstrations as a means of changing government policy, but an overwhelming majority also believe that demonstrations are the best way to change the government in its entirety!

The poll also seems to point out the utter loss in confidence in the Lower House of Parliament as a legislative body, with a significant number believing that parliament is not combating corruption or really influencing public policy, or, for that matter, truly independent from the executive branch.

A slim majority of 52 per cent said the Lower House was carrying out its role in terms of monitoring the government and holding it accountable, drafting laws and supervising public expenditures. In terms of the House’s ability to combat corruption and influence public policy, however, the percentage saying they were capable of doing so fell to 48 per cent and 46 per cent, respectively. As for the Parliament’s independence from the executive authority, 45 per cent of respondents said it was, but only 41 per cent believe that the House was doing a good job in connecting with the people.

Conclusion? The majority seem to think protests are not the way to go, unless you want to overthrow the government that is (non-violently), and the majority also seem to think that neither the judicial branch nor the legislative branch are truly independent of the executive.


  • For long time , the people of Jordan has been subjected to and fed heavy daily doses of consistent propaganda, lies and fabrications about the so called “our” government and it’s “achievements” .
    Just take a look at the defunct Jordanian daily news paper such as Al’ Rai or Al Dustur or the official controlled state TV ,anybody with half brain would detect the lies and misinformation that comes out of those propaganda tools that the regime has employed and it’s army of fake journalists to vomit it’s lies .
    The reason I have mentioned this consistent and relentless propaganda on behalf of “our” government, because in order for any government to keep the people in the dark, including “our”, they must control the flow and the quality of information from the people, when the people are fed lies all the time , their perception and out look will be altered and easily guided toward favorable stance toward keeping the herds in line .
    I would take this survey seriously if it was conducted in a society that has free press and free flow of information.

  • the CSS does good work but polling has its limits. less than 2,000 people polled, the results could easily be entirely different with a different sample. there’s at least that many people who protest across the country for reform, all over jordan, nearly every week. i’d be interested to see what the results yield with a larger sample.

  • I am a bit critical of the different CSS polls. At the end of the day, the CSS, although part of the University of Jordan, is a governmental entity (government mouthpiece as you call it somewhere else). If the country is serious about the credibility of such a center, it must be spun off to be fully independent; become “people mouthpiece”

  • Yesterday, the King of the real “Palestine,” King Abdullah Bin Hussain of Jordan, attacked Israel in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, calling for a Palestinian State on Israeli land. That’s because he, a member of the Hashemite minority in Jordan, doesn’t want to give the Palestinian majority, which may be as high as 90-some % of the Jordanian population, a state where they should really have one, if any: Jordan. So, to alleviate that “problem,” he married a Palestinian who lives in the country of Fifth Avenue, New York and occasionally makes appearances in Jordan, when she’s not doing propaganda work with Oprah Winfrey or others among her minions of butt-kissers.

    Muslim Queen & Drag Queen: BFFs Queen Rania and Michelle Hussein Obama Hang Out

    And while many Jordanians–particularly Jordanian Palestinians–live in poverty and have a very low standard of living, Palestinian Queen Rania has a new way to show them how to really live, something you should remember the next time the Jordanian mini-King and his Queen attack Israel or mention “poverty” in Gaza or the “oppressed” Palestinians:

    An Indian jeweller has been hired to make golden shoes for Jordan’s Queen Rania Al-Abdullah.

    The Calcutta jeweller, who wants to remain anonymous, has been asked to make two pairs of 22 carat gold shoes.

    Each pair will weigh 750 grams and will be embellished with diamonds and topaz.

    The Bengali daily newspaper Anandabazar Patrika reports the jeweller said: “The queen used to get her shoes designed in Peshawar but they were not made of pure gold, only gold threads were used on the leather.

    “The shoes she wants now will be made from pure gold without leather or foam.”

    The newspaper says Jordanian officials had reportedly paid an advance of £34,468 for the job and the remainder, “a substantial amount of money”, will be paid after delivery.

    The jeweller says he has imported three kilograms of gold from London to be used in the making of the shoes over the next two months.

    Wow, those shoes sound really functional.

    Again, remember the Palestinian Queen’s diamond-encrusted gold shoes the next time she whines about the “poor Palestinians.” I’m sure the Palestinians would happily take the more than $55,000 it costs for these ridiculous, garish shoes, in addition to the gazillions in aid they already get from the U.S. and Israel.

    Instead, Queen Rania and her hubby–with this shoe purchase and other swanky stuff they constantly buy on the Jordanian Palestinian dime–are telling the Palestinians: Let them eat falafel. And make sure it’s halal.

  • @someone: i agree. the sample is definitely too small for questions of this nature. especially regarding a situation where practically every jordanian has an opinion.

    @taisir: i think the css is pretty independent.

    @Dear Anonymous: thank you for posting up a debbie schussler article (word for word). it carries as much weight and credibility with me as Rush Limbaugh reporting on the apocalypse.

  • Interesting …

    Your headline suggests you feel there’s a contradiction between people on the one hand rejecting protests as a means of political reform, and on the other accepting them as a means of nonviolent revolution. But I wonder if that number doesn’t actually help explain a few things …

    With the heavy coverage of the Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan revolutions on Al Jazeera, couldn’t this simply imply that street protests have become associated in the popular imagination with revolution rather than reform? We are talking about a milieu where, historically, there haven’t really been a lot of effective examples of protests leading to incremental reforms. (And by “a lot,” I think I mean “any.”)

    In a way, wouldn’t this association offer a partial explanation for some of the anti-protest pushback in Jordan: If people are, consciously or unconsciously, associating any street protest with a revolutionary movement, and if protesters have been unable to convince them otherwise…

    Gotta go read the original survey now!

  • @Nick: that’s an interesting take. basing what was said in the survey, i think the question implied the government and not the state. in other words, it’s local context rather than regional. in other words, a protest that is organized to take down the khasawneh government, as was done with the rifai government a year ago.

    at least that’s my take on it.

    and if that’s true, i think it points to an even more interesting dilemma…that jordanians are more interested in the well established and permitted mechanisms of political change than trying something different i.e. reform. tradition allows the people to vent out all their anger and frustration at the government rather than the King, even with the full knowledge that the King appoints that very government. that long standing tradition allows for protests to mobilize for the overthrow of that government, of that specific cabinet, yielding immediate overnight change, which calms everyone down for a short while until frustration builds again…rinse and repeat.

    protesting for reform or for other any other political changes beyond that is to open up a whole other can of worms. personal agendas and motives are called in to question. the fear of one group ruling over another comes in to play. the lacking national conversation about what reform actually entails enters the fray. that’s just too much hard work, and too many conversations, and too many arguments, and too much lacking consensus.

    in other words…it’s just easier to get the king to replace the government.

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