The findings of an opinion poll concerning Tunisia’s present and future circumstances was the focus of a press conference held this Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 at the headquarters of Agence Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP), El Manar. The survey was conducted jointly by TAP and the Institute for Surveying and Processing Statistical Information, and it was carried out from August 15th-28th. The representative sample used for the study included 2,717 Tunisians of the appropriate age to vote, who were selected according to the quota method with four variables: gender, environment, region and age. The results of the survey have confirmed that most Tunisians are apprehensive about the upcoming Constituent Assembly elections. The results are almost perfectly consistent, with previous results of a survey carried out last April by the same institute.
The survey was designed to examine the evolution of public opinion in Tunisia, and it aims to address various issues, such as:
-Tunisians’ perceptions of their country’s current situation, in terms of security, economy, and media
-Opinions concerning the performance of the interim government
-The risks perceived by the Tunisian population with reference to the country’s future
-Tunisians’ view of the media after the January 14th revolution
According to poll results, the country’s current situation is considered incomprehensible by 50.9% of polled persons, while 27.2% believe that the current circumstances are to be expected after a revolution has taken place. Additionally, 11.8% claim that they have not noticed any changes post-revolution, while 10.1% describe the situation as dubious and worrisome.
Concerning Tunisia’s prospects in the near future, 56.2% of those surveyed believe that the situation is unclear, 19% regard the situation as not promising and as growing more complicated, while only 24.6% feel that Tunisia is on the path to a more promising future.
In terms of Tunisia’s security situation, more than half of respondents reported their dissatisfaction. Meanwhile, 25% of those polled were moderately satisfied, and only 18% were satisfied. These findings reflected almost exactly those from the survey conducted in April 2011.
The survey results also reveal that the satisfaction rate of polled Tunisians’ with their interim government’s performance is currently at 21%, as opposed to 31% in April — a 10% decrease in just four months. Meanwhile, the percentage of Tunisians dissatisfied with the interim government rose nine percent, to 48%.
The survey additionally conveys that the satisfaction of those Tunisians surveyed with the performance of their country’s political parties is a meager 7%. The dissatisfaction rate relating to Tunisian political parties, however, has increased from 64% in April 2011 to 70% in August 2011. This change can most likely be attributed to a lack of interest in politics in general, rather than a lack of concern with politics after the fall of Ben Ali. For example, the percentage of those surveyed who were uninterested in politics before the revolution exceeded 75%. A few months after the revolution, this figure was limited to 20%, however, it currently stands at 45.2%.
In terms of knowledge of political parties, the results of the poll were somewhat disheartening. Approximately 22% of Tunisians polled admitted that they do not know a single political party, and those who claim to know more than four parties only represent 23%. Ennahdha Movement ranks first in terms of familiarity, followed by the POCT (Tunisian Workers’ Communist Party), PDP (Democratic Progressive Party), and FDLT (Ettakatol Party). Moreover, 56% of those polled reported to disapprove of all political parties, while 34% claimed to favor one party, and 7.7% claimed to favor more than one political party.
Moreover, two-thirds of the surveyed Tunisians believe that Tunisia’s political parties do not represent them or reflect their views, and about 60% among those polled do not seem to have a clear idea as to the role and attributes of the Constituent Assembly. This could be one explanation of the 17% anticipated abstention rate that the survey predicts for the upcoming elections. The poll did reveal, however, that approximately 72% of Tunisians are planning to vote in the upcoming elections. Two-thirds of them have not yet decided for whom they will vote.
Finally, in terms of Tunisia’s economic situation, 61% of those polled reported dissatisfaction, 28% reported that they are moderately satisfied, while only 11% reported that they were satisfied. Hence, the poll’s finding that 50% of Tunisians are uncertain about their country’s current situation is understandable. A similar amount of Tunisians polled predicted that the country would witness an economic crisis, and over a third of those polled anticipated that the interim government would fail to organize impartial elections or to build a truly democratic system.
Sources: Al Mouharrer, Assabah, Le Temps, Le Quotidien, La Press, Al Chourouk