This is a rare commodity in Lebanon: a poll, commissioned by the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation and conducted by Statistics Lebanon, provides a glimpse into citizens’ voting intentions for the legislative elections scheduled for May 15.
Published earlier this month, this survey was conducted between Dec. 10 and 15, 2021, among a sample of 1,200 Lebanese over 21 years of age, distributed across genders, regions, religions, social classes and education levels.
The first interesting indication is that 25.7 percent of respondents said they will vote for an independent figure in May.
But upon further scrutiny, the data offer a more nuanced reading. Among the establishment political parties, Hezbollah leads with 14.7 percent expressing their intent to vote for the party, followed by groups born of the Oct. 17, 2019 popular protest movement, with 12.3 percent. Next is the Lebanese Forces with 11.5 percent and the Free Patriotic Movement with 6.8 percent.
The Future Movement, meanwhile, can expect 6.2 percent of votes, according to the survey responses. However, the Saad Hariri-led party announced on Monday its effective boycott of the elections — its members may still run, but they must tender their resignation from the party in order to do so. According to the survey, 4.2 percent said they would vote for the Kataeb, 3 percent for the Amal Movement and 2.2 percent for the Progressive Socialist Party. Just 2.5 percent of respondents indicated that they will vote for “another party,” while 4.2 percent said that they will vote for “no one” and 0.7 percent refrained from answering the question. Turnout, meanwhile, is estimated at 50 percent, about the same as in 2018.
Half of the respondents expressed that they believe that the 2022 elections could be a source of political change.
While these data must obviously be taken with a grain of salt, they seem to reflect various developments that have been observed in recent years, notably the aspiration for change by a significant part of the Lebanese population and the rise of the LF to the detriment of the FPM on the Christian scene.
The study also found that 44.8 percent of respondents will not vote for the same party as they did in 2018, which explains why the results of the survey contrast with the outcomes of the last election.
According to figures presented by former minister Charbel Nahas in his book Lebanese Parliamentary Elections 2016-2019, Hezbollah and its affiliates obtained in the last popular elections some 24 percent of the vote, followed by the Future Movement with 16 percent, the FPM with 13.7 percent and the Amal Movement with 13.4 percent. The LF obtained only 7.7 percent of the vote, and the PSP 4.7 percent. As for the Kataeb, just 1.9 percent of voters favored the party in 2018.
The foundation’s study goes beyond voting intentions, however, asking its Lebanese respondents about other political issues, such as the Oct. 17, 2019 protest movement. Some 35.1 percent of respondents say they support the movement (including 1.6 percent who did not support it at first). Of those surveyed, 36.9 percent say they supported it at the beginning, but no longer do so, and 27.6 percent say they never supported the popular uprising. More than half, 52 percent, of those surveyed say they support the unification of groups close to the protest movement into a single electoral list.
The survey also asks the Lebanese about their political priorities. Some 33.8 percent of respondents say that fighting corruption is the main issue for them, followed by the repatriation of illicit funds transferred abroad (13.5 percent) and the emergence of a new political class (13.3 percent). The disarmament of Hezbollah, one of the most divisive issues in Lebanese politics, comes only in seventh place, with 4.5 percent of respondents putting it at the top of their political priorities.
In terms of foreign policy, 73.8 percent of respondents prioritize the resolution of conflicts between Lebanon and the Arab Gulf countries, with 38.4 percent of respondents also saying they trust Saudi Arabia's foreign policy.
While this score is higher than that of Syria (20.8 percent), Iran (22.4 percent), the United States (30.6 percent) or even Turkey (28.6 percent), it remains far behind France, the international actor that, according to the survey, is trusted by the largest number of Lebanese (51.4 percent).
This article was originally published in French in L'Orient-Le Jour.
This is a rare commodity in Lebanon: a poll, commissioned by the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation and conducted by Statistics Lebanon, provides a glimpse into citizens’ voting intentions for the legislative elections scheduled for May 15.Published earlier this month, this survey was conducted between Dec. 10 and 15, 2021, among a sample of 1,200 Lebanese over 21 years of age, distributed...