The Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan has just released the latest round of surveys on the state of democracy in Jordan. The report isn't yet available on the CSS site, and is only sketchily reported in various newspapers, but here's what I've been able to piece together of the major findings:
- on the 10 point scale (10 the highest) consistently used by the CSS since the early 1990s, the state of 'democracy in Jordan' is currently 5.8, no real difference from most other surveys, a little bit down from 2005 (when it was 6.2)
- just under 50% felt that freedom to join political parties or participate in demonstrations is guaranteed in Jordan
- around 40% said that democracy is the best system to improve economic conditions - an odd way to phrase the question, I think. Similarly, only 10% said that rule by religious figures would improve economic conditions, again a bizarre way of framing the question - presumably those who want religious government do so because of their religious beliefs, not because of venal material expectations. I don't know if this very poor framing represents sloppy construction of the survey or an intentional way of not asking other more direct questions.
- around 60% described the last Parliamentary election as 'fair and just.' That is rather low. Less than 50% think that the current Parliament is doing its job well.
- 58.8% see the public media as credible. Also very low.
One result which I found especially interesting given my current concerns about the rising sectarian tension: the survey found near consensus that religious minorities - including the Shia - should be seen as full citizens and be able to practice their beliefs in full freedom, and that a different sect should not be grounds for doubting their loyalty or citizenship. That seems like one more piece of evidence in support of the general thesis that the current wave of anti-Shi'ism in the region is coming from the top down (the governments) and not from the bottom up.