Poll finds rise in support in Jordan for battle against IS

AP News
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Posted: Jun 20, 2016 11:29 AM

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — More Jordanians support the fight against Islamic State extremists next door, but are increasingly dissatisfied with their country's economy and political institutions, according to a poll published Monday.

Pro-Western Jordan is a member of the U.S.-led military coalition against IS and borders both Syria and Iraq, where the extremist group controls large swaths of territory.

The kingdom has jailed hundreds of suspected IS sympathizers over the past two years. Jordan says only a tiny minority of Jordanians support Islamic militancy, but impoverished areas with high unemployment are seen as breeding grounds for such ideas.

The survey of Jordanians was conducted in April by the International Republican Institute, a U.S.-based nonprofit with the stated aim of promoting democracy worldwide. The survey had an error margin of 3.5 percentage points.

Eighty percent of those surveyed said they support the anti-IS coalition to some degree, up from 75 percent in 2015. Just over 70 percent approve of Jordan's involvement in the coalition to a large or moderate degree.

Eighty-nine percent said IS a terrorist organization, while 4 percent disagreed and 7 percent did not know — the same result as in 2015.

The survey also showed increased dissatisfaction, largely tied to the economic situation.

The number of people who describe the economy as good fell to 29 percent, from 46 percent in 2015. Fifty percent said the economy is bad, up from 33 percent last year.

Unemployment, poverty and rising prices were named as the top three problems facing the country.

Economic pessimism is linked to negative views of the country's political institutions.

Eighty-seven percent said the outgoing parliament has not accomplished anything worthwhile and only 29 percent think the legislature is effective.

The survey was conducted before King Abdullah II dissolved parliament, setting the stage for new elections in September.