For a significant majority of Yemenis, the elections remain the best tool for making change, and this is supported by their willingness to participate. According to the results of a public opinion poll, conducted by PERCENT Corporation on a random sample of 1,000 people (half of them women) in nine governorates, up to 77 percent of the respondents said they plan to vote in the next presidential elections. The survey results have revealed strong tendencies towards electoral participation despite low approval of the recent political and economic situations, and declining political job approval ratings. (See the report on political job approval rating, 2013). When asked who they favor to run for president in the next elections, the answers revealed that the Yemenis are either undecided or don’t trust any of the names in the political arena quite enough to support any of them. The survey results show Yemeni citizens’ attitudes towards the elections, and who they support to run for president. Subsequent reports will give more details about the attitudes of Yemeni citizens, and their assessment of the current political situation, the performance of political parties and other issues in the next period, based on the results of a survey implemented last February in all governorates in partnership with World Value Survey Association (WVSA). The 2012 Elections Up to 60 percent of Yemenis aged 18 years and over voted in the most recent presidential elections of February 2012, conducted under a transfer of power agreement following 2011 protests. According to the survey results, 70 percent of men and 50 percent of women voted in that electoral event, and these figures are relatively similar to estimates published by the Supreme Commission on Elections & Referendum (SCER) at that time. The highest participation rate, according to the results, was in Hajjah Governorate. Up to 82 percent of the electorate in Hajjah said they voted in the 2012 presidential elections, and women’s participation was equal to men’s. In Ibb Governorate, 73 percent, mostly women, said they participated, while Taiz demonstrated the largest disparity between men’s and women’s electoral participation, as up to 88 percent of men said they participated, compared to 50 percent of women. Hadramout and Aden governorates had the lowest electoral participation in 2012, as just 10 percent (mostly men) in Hadramout and 16 percent in Aden said they participated, while in Dhalea, 36 percent of the electorate participated in that electoral event. The electoral participation had been low in the southern governorates as a result of a boycott campaign organized by political forces opposed to the elections. A number of polling stations in Aden were exposed to acts of rioting and violence, according to reports by the different media.
The 2014 Elections: More than 83 percent of men and 72 percent of women (77 percent on aggregate) said they would participate in the next presidential elections, planned to take place this year, according to the survey findings. Only 10 percent are undecided while another 13 percent, mostly women, said they wouldn’t vote in the upcoming presidential elections. Hajjah Governorate has shown the strongest electoral participation tendency, followed by Taiz and then Amran. The electoral participation tendency has gone down to 60 percent in Dhalea, 22 percent in Aden and 19 percent in Hadramout.
Who do you select to be the new president? Although Hadi’s performance has been approved by nearly 68 percent during his second year in office, only 17 percent supports his reelection when asked about who they prefer to be the next President of Yemen. The rest of respondents were divided over many names, most prominently Ahmad Ali Abdullah Saleh (the ex-president’s son), who was selected by 8.2 percent, followed by his father Ali Abdullah Saleh, and then Yasin Saeed Numan, who was selected by 4.4 percent. A majority of Yemenis are undecided about the new president. Although the incumbent president’s performance over the past year has been approved by nearly 68 percent, only 17 percent supports his reelection in the upcoming presidential elections, scheduled to take place this year. More than half of Yemenis said they haven’t thought of the right presidential candidate or they would decide once the names of candidates are revealed. According to the survey results, 33.4 percent said there is no right person they could select as the new President of Yemen while 18 percent said they would select the right person once the names of candidates are revealed. The incumbent president’s reelection is supported by 17 percent, while 8.2 percent (mostly women) supports Ahmad Ali Abdullah Saleh (the ex-president’s son), 5.5 percent supports his father Ali Abdullah Saleh, and 4.4 percent supports Yasin Saeed Numan to run for president. Most of the undecided respondents belong to the governorates of Hadramout, Aden, Dhalea, Hodeida, Amran and Ibb, while the incumbent president is supported by 41 percent of the citizens in Hajjah and 22 percent of the citizens in the capital city.