Some stats

I have compiled the results of a poll conducted by the Beirut Centre for Research & Information in a PDF file. 800 Lebanese from different sects and regions were asked 7 questions. I briefly summarize the results here: The majority are unsatisfied with the performance of the government and would like to see a national unity government. 92.6% of Shi’ites polled believe that the government’s performance in the rebuilding process has been “unacceptable”, compared to a solid 0% of Shi’ites polled considering the performance “good”. In contrast, 31.4% of Sunnis and 32.6% of Druze believe that the performance has been good. In terms of wartime performance of various ministries, Nayla Muawwad‘s Ministry of Social Affairs gets a dismal 0% of Shi’ite votes. Michel Aoun (LFPM) tops the list of nominees for the presidency, with an overwhelming 87% of Shi’ites polled supporting him, compared to 39.1% of Christians, 19.9% of Sunnis, and 14.8% of Druze. Respondents from the latter two sects prefer Butros Harb, who commands a minor lead over Aoun among the Sunni respondents, while Druze respondents prefer Harb to Aoun by a wider margin. The overall majority support early elections, but slightly over half of the Sunnis, and a bigger percentage of Druze polled are against it, compared to 70% of Christians and 94% of Shi’ites being in favour.

The poll results appear to be relatively accurate and representative. What is interesting is that the Sunni and Druze respondents appear to be in agreement over issues pertaining to unity government and elections (more than half of Sunnis and Druze polled are against it, whereas the opposite is true for the Shi’ites and Christians). The only thing that all four groups seem to be in agreement on is the performance of the health ministry, which gets the highest approval. Ironically, the performance ratings of ministries is highly influenced by the sectarian belonging of respondents. So, for example, while the minister of telecommunications (who is Durzi) receives 0% of Sunni and Shi’ite votes, and only 2.5% of Christian votes, he receives a whopping 8.8% of Druze votes. Of course, the correlation is merely horizontal and not vertical, given that some ministries (such as telecom) did not have as much relevance to the question as others (such as health). Nevertheless, each minister has received the highest approval from his own sect.

Note that the overall percentages do not take into account the actual demographic distribution by sect. In other words, the overall percentages would greatly differ if the real numbers are factored into the equation.


5 responses to “Some stats

  1. Nice initiative Anarchorev! It’s always good to know what public opinion really is. You mentioned that “the overall percentages do not take into account the actual demographic distribution by sect”. I believe this is inaccurate; try some calculations to check.

  2. Actually Thaer Daem, the poll conducters have used the following equation:
    For each sect multiply the percentage by the following to arrive to the overall:
    Sunnis: 0.2109375 (i.e. 27/128 )
    Shi’ites: 0.2265625 (i.e. 29/128 )
    Druze: 0.0625 (i.e. 8/128 )
    Christian: 0.5 (i.e. 64/128 )
    In other words, they’ve taken the division of seats in the parliament and not actual demographic estimates to calculate the overall percentage.

  3. It would be nice to see a public opinion poll on the Palestinians in Lebanon. What is your general take on their status there?

  4. The Palestinians should be given citizenship; some argue this will devalue claims for right of return under int’l law, but I am not sure. At any rate, the least the government should do is give them the right to own property and work in all fields. The standard argument is that there aren’t enough jobs for the Lebanese themselves, but this is not true. Fact is, there are enough jobs for everyone, but the upper classes want to hire cheap foreign labour, and foreign here is a key, since foreign labourers have little rights, while Lebanese labourers would at least know their rights, if they have any (though I am not saying that labour laws here are in any way relevant to the actual treatment of workers).

    The sad thing is that the Palestinians have become victims not only of the 1948 dispossession and Lebanese civil war (though they were also active players in it – but here I am talking about civilians) but also of Lebanese political bickering and agendas. I think there is a lot of insecurity about the Palestinians in Lebanon, mostly around the subject of naturalization. The Hariri clan has been throwing a hint or two here and there (note: Hariri clan is Sunni, and so are the majority of Palestinians) but then continues to deny that there is such a plan to naturalize them (typical schizophrenic Junblattist behaviour – guess they ARE learning something from their feudal chieftain ally). There is a sectarian element that runs deep into the naturalization issue, so don’t let anyone fool you into thinking this has to do with “Lebanese nationalism” (there is no such thing anyway, even if some Lebanese insist that they are patriotic and love Lebanon and all that; fact is, in Lebanon, sectarian attachment far exceeds national attachment and loyalty). HezbAllah wants to see the Palestinians return, and I am sure there is also a sectarian agenda there, though there is also a wider pan-Islamic element to it.

    I think the majority of Lebanese would be against naturalizing Palestinians. Unfortunately. I am one of those who are not against it, unless it TRULY means that the Palestinians would be relinquishing their right of return under int’l law. And even then, there is no reason why their living and working conditions shouldn’t be improved, and here I am not talking about UNRWA aid but massive restructuring of Palestinian affairs in Lebanon (and the respective laws that limit them), including more governmental involvement in and sponsoring of education, health care, social and cultural affairs, and so on. But I don’t expect that to happen, as that is lacking in many Lebanese areas even. Now if people would stop their petty bickering and fights and focus on the people’s needs, and if the same needy people would stop being dragged behind their stupid “leaders” and chieftains, I am sure Lebanon would be a better place to live in for all those who live there (by the way, the treatment of and racism against Sri Lankan, Ethiopian, and Filippino workers here is really disgusting and goes to show how ignorant and uneducated most Lebanese are; in fact, some word of advice to the Lebanese people: they should drop this “holier than thou” attitude, and stop believing that they are the best thing that happened to humankind. I can’t be any more straightforward).

  5. Thanks for the clarification, Anarchorev! I stand corrected.

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