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Executive summary of the      “SURVEY OF LEBANESE CITIZENS’ PRIORITY     CONCERNS AND ATTITUDES TOWARDS CIVIC             ...
EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThis report from a survey of Lebanese citizen’s priority concerns and attitudes towards civicengagement i...
Main concerns expressed by the citizens, regrouped in general categories                                          84%     ...
B. Main concerns, disaggregated per sub-groups of population.The Lebanese demonstrate common concerns on a large number of...
•   While 48% show confidence at some level in the local government, only 10% view it as       one of the institutions tha...
D. Civic engagement                                            Making a difference              61%     53%               ...
E. Media Usage       89%               87%        Daily   Moderate use        Don’t use / Rarely use                      ...
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Executive summary of Pace National Survey Report

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This is a summary of the survey of Lebanese citizen’s priority concerns and of their attitudes towards civic engagement was conducted by Statistics Lebanon for the Promoting Active Citizen Engagement (PACE) program, under funding by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The poll researched opinions and perceptions regarding the following:
a) Main concerns affecting their lives on both the national and community levels
b) Attitudes toward civic/political engagement
c) Level of confidence in the capacity of various institutions to represent them
d) View of CSOs
e) Sources of news and information for the public and level of trust in each
Main findings:
• The economic situation tops the list of national-level concerns mentioned spontaneously, followed by the political situation and security. Social concerns are less prominent.
• At the community level, the top concerns mentioned are those that strike close to home: infrastructure (especially electricity), cost of living, unemployment and social issues.
• The Lebanese demonstrate common concerns on a large number of issues, whatever their background. Amongst them are the high cost of living, poor infrastructure (most notably electricity), corruption, political instability and sectarianism.
• There are few variations linked to sex or age. Some differences appear when it comes to confessional groups or regional belonging.
• The Lebanese Armed Forces are the most trusted national institution, followed by civil society organizations (CSOs). The national government is the least trusted.
• CSOs are viewed positively but perceived as relief charities, rather than vehicles to carry the voice of citizens.
• A majority of respondents feel they cannot make a change on the topics they have identified as priorities. Youth does appear to feel more confident in its ability to impact change.
• TV is the media most consumed and the main source of information. Internet comes second.

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Executive summary of Pace National Survey Report

  1. 1. Executive summary of the “SURVEY OF LEBANESE CITIZENS’ PRIORITY CONCERNS AND ATTITUDES TOWARDS CIVIC ENGAGEMENT”8 July 2012This document was produced by Management Systems International for the United StatesAgency for International Development (USAID). 1 Survey of Lebanese citizen’s priority concerns and attitudes towards civic engagement
  2. 2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThis report from a survey of Lebanese citizen’s priority concerns and attitudes towards civicengagement is produced by the Promoting Active Citizen Engagement (PACE) program underfunding by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).The survey was carried out by Statistics Lebanon Ltd in March and April 2012, covering bothurban and rural areas and all governorates. A nationally-representative sample of 2,000Lebanese people aged 16 and above was interviewed with a face-to-face questionnaire mixingopen and closed questions. The data are disaggregated by age, sex, district, income level,employment status and confession. The poll researched Lebanese citizens’ opinions andperceptions regarding the following: a) Main concerns among the Lebanese public relating to political, economic, environmental and social issues on both the national and community levels b) Attitudes toward civic/political engagement c) Level of the public’s confidence in the capacity of various institutions, including civil society organizations (CSOs), to represent them d) The public’s view of CSOs e) Sources of news and information for the public and level of trust in each f) Frequency of internet and social media usage.The survey’s main findings are: A. Main concerns:When asked to provide, unprompted, up to three issues they consider as main national andlocal concerns, respondents cite:Top 5 concerns at National and Community Level- Uncategorized National % Community % High cost of living 31.5 Electricity 36 Political situation 29 High cost of living 31.5 Economic situation 23 Unemployment 22 Security situation 22 Poverty 13 Electricity 20 Water problems 11.5In % of responsesBecause the Lebanese name such a large number of major challenges both at the national andcommunity level, many of which overlap, such as the high cost of living, cost of education, costof housing, high fuel prices etc., this report regrouped the spontaneous responses into sevengeneral categories, providing a sufficient number of cases for more in-depth analysis: 2 Survey of Lebanese citizen’s priority concerns and attitudes towards civic engagement
  3. 3. Main concerns expressed by the citizens, regrouped in general categories 84% National Community 59% 55% 50% 47% 44% 45% 45% 36% 23% 18% 16% 16% 11% Political Social Infrastructure Economic / High Security Political Economic / Institutions cost of living Outcomes GeneralIn a country plagued by political and economic instability, it is not surprising that the economicsituation topped the list of national-level concerns mentioned spontaneously by therespondents, followed by the political situation and security. Social concerns are lessprominent, particularly at the national level, while the environment is mentioned only once,with pollution being at the very low end of the hierarchy of community concerns. At thecommunity level priorities change markedly. The top concerns mentioned are those that strikeclose to home: infrastructure (especially electricity), cost of living, unemployment, and socialissues. Politics and security were not cited as main community concerns. When they arementioned as a community challenge, this is in reference to national politics. This suggeststhat the March 8-March 14 polemic so pervasive at the national level may be less relevant atthe local level.A further exploration of people’s views on a given list of issues provides a betterunderstanding of what lies behind those broadly-defined top concerns: SECTOR TOP 3 MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES Social • Drugs (27%) • Corruption in society (16%) • Sectarianism (11%) Political • Security and safety (23%) • Political stability (18%) • Corruption in government (14%) Economy • Poverty (24%) • Finding job opportunities (23%) • Cost of living (18%) Environment • Alternative energy sources (24%) • Quarries (18%) • Deforestation (17%)Those guided responses are consistent with respondents’ unprompted choices. There is oneexception: although public infrastructure was the topic spontaneously cited most often, itdoes not belong to the top three most important social issues cited. This might be because,when it comes to social issues, respondents prioritize those that affect as much their values astheir lives. 3 Survey of Lebanese citizen’s priority concerns and attitudes towards civic engagement
  4. 4. B. Main concerns, disaggregated per sub-groups of population.The Lebanese demonstrate common concerns on a large number of issues, whatever theirbackground. Some differences appear when it comes to confessional groups or regionalbelonging. When they exist, socio-economic variations seem to be mainly explained bygeography, showing often a divide between the North, Mount Lebanon and Beirut on one sideand Nabatieh, the Bekaa and the South on the other. The Bekaa appears often to be the mostatypical amongst governorates. When they exist, socio-political variations seem to beexplained by confessional belonging, with the Shiites often apart from the views of otherconfessions. Nevertheless, many issues show a high level of consensus. Amongst them are thehigh cost of living, unemployment, poor infrastructure (most notably electricity), corruption,political instability, and sectarianism.This is also evident when looking at other categories of population. There are no majordifferences in the hierarchy of priorities between urban and rural populations save for somepredictable topics such as the cost of housing. The same can be observed when data aredisaggregated by gender, although differences appear on very specific issues linked towomen’s rights, such as gender-based violence or a women’s quota in parliament. There is novisible generation gap. All age groups share the same concerns, except for unemployment, towhich youth give a higher priority. Youth do not appear more “progressive” than earliergenerations, even on social issues such as the place of women in political life, drugs, theenvironment or political issues. Poor people are more likely to mention issues related to thehigh cost of living or infrastructure but are less concerned about social challenges or security. C. Attitudes towards institutions and civil society 82% Degree of Confidence in Institutions Great deal of confidence No confidence 60% 54% 54% 46% 44% 45% 39% 34% 20% 20% 18% 11% 14% 12% 10% 8% 4% Lebanese Civil Society General Police/law The Judicial Local/city The parliamentPolitical parties Government Armed Forces organizations Security enforcement System government (NGOs) • The institution that enjoys the highest level of confidence from a majority of the population is the Lebanese Armed Forces, largely perceived as non-partisan. Other institutions related to security enjoy also a fair level of confidence, suggesting that the Lebanese have general confidence in the security services to protect the people, considering that security was cited as one of their main concerns. • Civil society organizations (CSOs) are the second most trusted institution, scoring above 80% (when adding responses “great deal of” and “some degree of” confidence). This level of trust is highest amongst Christians and Sunnis and lowest amongst Shiites. They are mostly seen as relief providers. This seems to show greater Lebanese confidence in and reliance upon CSOs to provide services that the national and local governments cannot or do not provide effectively. 4 Survey of Lebanese citizen’s priority concerns and attitudes towards civic engagement
  5. 5. • While 48% show confidence at some level in the local government, only 10% view it as one of the institutions that best represents their interests. • The level of distrust is particularly high for national, political institutions such as the parliament, the government and political parties, which should be the institutions in charge of responding to citizens’ other main concerns: the economy, infrastructure and political stability. This appears reflected in the fact that 58% of respondents consider that no political party represents their views and in the decrease in their intention to vote in the next parliamentary elections (59.6%), in comparison to the 78.6% who voted in the last parliamentary elections in 2009.All of this suggests both a growing disconnect and dissatisfaction between the citizenry andthe institutions responsible for responding to their concerns and an overall disillusioned viewof citizens’ capacity to bring change through elections, possibly due to the high level ofpolitical polarization in the country. Such findings are consistent with those from the ArabBarometer’s latest study, suggesting that these views are well entrenched.More specifically, respondents’ views on civil society are: • Civil society is considered effective by 81% of the population. This perception is highest among Christians and urban populations and lowest amongst Shiites and rural populations. • 16.5% are unable to mention a single CSO by name. • The Lebanese Red Cross is the only organization that enjoys a wide level of recognition and is considered to represent best the population’s concerns. It is followed distantly by charitable nation-wide organizations, then by many local religious and charitable institutions, cited only by a few persons. • The most frequently cited CSOs are those that combine a regular presence in the media and a focus on relief work. Advocacy-oriented NGOs and nation-wide, non-relief oriented organizations are mentioned spontaneously by very few respondents, although some are well-known and would most likely have been recognized if they had been cited in the questionnaire. • The main mode of support is through donations.All of this suggests a perception of CSOs as relief charities, rather than vehicles to carry thevoice of citizens, advocating on the people’s behalf for better policies on the topics thatmatter most to them. CSOs intending to mobilize citizens around changing policies will need tomake active efforts to build an effective and engaged constituency. This is particularly the casein the Bekaa, which shows the least favorable attitudes towards civil society of allgovernorates. 5 Survey of Lebanese citizen’s priority concerns and attitudes towards civic engagement
  6. 6. D. Civic engagement Making a difference 61% 53% Community level National Level 25% 21% 16% 13% 6% 5% 1% 1% I can’t make a change I can somewhat make a I can make an average I can make a big change. Don’t know, no answer change change • 61% of respondents feel they cannot make a change on the topics they have identified as priorities, which may reflect the disconnect noted above between the citizenry and institutions. This percentage is still 53% at the community level, where one could have expected citizens would feel more involved and able to effect local change. • Youth are no more confident in their capacity to make a change than their parents or grand-parents. • Despite the fact that women equally participated in the last municipal and parliamentary elections, they are less likely to cite their will to participate in the upcoming elections (57%) compared to 63% of men.All of this points to a strong need to revive the interest of the Lebanese, and particularly thatof youth and women, in participating in the public decisions that affect their daily lives. Givenits positive image, civil society could play a role in this regard, both at the local level andthrough advocacy with national institutions. As noted above, this would require continuouseffort on its part to build and motivate a constituency.There is a strong willingness to cooperate with persons from other confessions (89%), mostlythrough dialogue (80%). People engage with other confessions based on proximity: beingneighbors, colleagues or school friends. Tellingly, only 3% would engage with otherconfessions based on shared political views. This shows a potential readiness to cooperateacross confessional lines at the community level, which could be harnessed by a non-confessional civil society, given the overall positive image of CSOs. 6 Survey of Lebanese citizen’s priority concerns and attitudes towards civic engagement
  7. 7. E. Media Usage 89% 87% Daily Moderate use Don’t use / Rarely use 74% 57% 51% 41% 27% 16% 15% 8% 11% 8% 11% 3% 2% Watch TV Use a cell phone Use the internet Listen to the radio Read the newspaper • The Lebanese are mostly viewers of television, with 89% watching TV daily. This is also by far their primary source of information. The main channels for local or national news in terms of viewership are LBCI, New TV, and MTV. Other types of media are used much less frequently. • Although internet is used by only 50% of the population, almost two thirds of its users access information through it. • Radio is used daily by only 27% of the population and not considered as a major source of information. Printed press fares even worse, with only 11% of daily readers, out of which a mere 20% considers it as a source of information. • Social media is the most frequent usage of internet, at 86%. Facebook is the social media of choice (97%), followed distantly by MSN (24%) and Twitter (11%).This indicates strongly that any media outreach to the population should use television andweb-based media. Engaging with radio channels or print media may only be effective if theyhave also an online presence or intend to build one, particularly if they reinforce their newscontents such as with citizen journalism, a resource that most traditional media have not yettapped into. 7 Survey of Lebanese citizen’s priority concerns and attitudes towards civic engagement

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