Survey: 57% choose Saleh as president [Archives:2006/944/Front Page]

May 8 2006

By: Mustafa Ragih

SANA'A, May 7 ) A public opinion survey tacked seven questions about the Yemeni presidency. Voting for Saleh, evaluating his terms, favored presidential candidate, reference of the most preferred candidate, The type of personality preferred as the presidential candidate, the list of personalities, in order, qualified to run for president as viewed by participants. For the first question the survey revealed that 57 percent of Yemeni people have made up their minds to vote for President Ali Abdullah Saleh if he decides to stand in Yemen's upcoming presidential race. However, 33 percent said they will not vote for him and 10% were neutral.

Results of the survey, conducted by Yemen Polling Center (YPC) in collaboration with An-Nass Private Newspaper, were announced Wednesday at a press conference attended by reporters of different local and international media.

According to Dr. Mohamed Al-Faqih, research supervisor, the survey aimed to measure public opinion about the candidacy for president in Yemen's upcoming presidential poll scheduled this September. Also it aimed to identify citizen's attitudes toward President Saleh's declaration not take part in the upcoming presidential poll, as well as their reaction in case Saleh backs out on his decision.

The survey covered 14 questions about the most prominent personalities qualified enough to compete in Yemen's upcoming presidential race. Dr. Al-Faqih stated YPC postponed announcing the 12 personalities, qualified to stand for president according to the survey, until the coming week upon the request of An-Nass Newspaper, which will reveal names of these personalities in the next issue.

The survey covered 10 Yemeni governorates with a sample of 1500 male and female participants of different age groups eligible for vote. Percentages of President Saleh's decision opponents appear high in Taiz, the capital, Amran and Sa'ada. The survey disclosed that Saleh's female supporters outnumber the male ones.

The survey explained that Saleh's early declaration not stand in the poll and the absence of an effective role by opposition parties that have not yet named their presidential candidate, lead the majority of citizens to prefer that Saleh backs out on his decision to vote for him. Other factors including the long reign of Saleh, illiteracy among people, monopoly of visual and audible media plus tribal and personal interests make people bear in mind that it is not easy for them to accept any candidate other than Saleh to rule Yemen in the coming presidential term.

Twenty five percent of the survey sample assessed President Saleh's reign as good, 27 percent of them gave a very good assessment while other 27 percent said Saleh's reign was acceptable. 40 percent of the survey sample prefer to vote for the General People's Congress candidate, 16 percent of them favor to vote for the opposition candidate while 43 have undecided attitude. Also 65 percent of the survey sample prefers a civil personality to run for president while 34 percent of them favor a military personality to rule the country in the coming presidential term.

Al-Shumou weekly and Akhbar Al-Youm daily launched a preemptive attack on the YPC survey saying it was funded by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for doubtable goals. The survey organizers belittled the importance of such accusations and distributed a folder at the press conference explaining the survey was conducted according to internationally approved standards and methodologies.