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Majority of Lebanese fear country is headed to civil war
Poll shows that most citizens back call for early elections
By Abdo Saad

Friday, February 09, 2007

BEIRUT : The majority of Lebanese are worried that their country is once more headed for civil war, despite attempts by religious and political leaders to calm the situation, according to a new survey from the Beirut Center for Research and Information. The Sunni community in Beirut expressed the highest level of concern, with 83 percent of respondents saying they feared the outbreak of violence.
The center noted, however, that the level of concern had decreased from a survey conducted in December.
The latest survey was conducted between February 2 and February 5, and involved a sample audience of 800 persons.
Speeches made by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah were seen as the most reassuring, the survey showed, with more than 40 percent of respondents saying they were calmed by the words of the Hizbullah leader.
Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri was second, with 20 percent, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun third with 15 percent, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea fourth at 6 percent, and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt rounding out the group with 3 percent.
Asked who was responsible for bloody clashes across the country on January 23 during an opposition strike and two days later at the Beirut Arab University between government and opposition supporters, over 34 percent of respondents said both political camps were to blame, while 33 percent blamed the government and 29 percent the opposition.
The center asked those polled if they supported early parliamentary elections, the Paris III international donors conference and the international tribunal to try former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's killers, as well as their choice for president, prime minister and house speaker.
The majority of respondents supported early parliamentary elections, but the center said the level of support expressed had decreased by 7 percent from an earlier survey published in local daily Al-Akhbar in October.
Sunni support for early elections was said to have dropped from 46 to 26 percent, from 35 to 29 percent among the Druze, and from 70 to 65 percent among Christians. Shiite support for early polls remained untouched at 94 percent.
Concerning the presidency, Aoun led all figures offered with the approval of 39.3 percent of respondents, but once more the center said this represented a drop in popular support for Aoun as the October survey saw 45.4 percent of respondents backing Aoun for president.
Almost 20 percent of respondents, the second largest share, voted for "none of the above" for president. MP Boutros Harb came in third with 12.3 percent, while Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh was fourth with 9.9 percent, a significant rise from earlier polls according to the center. Former MP Nassib Lahoud came in fifth place, with 9.1 percent support, followed by Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea with 3 percent, nearly half the votes allotted the LF leader in previous surveys.
Concerning the premiership, 34.5 percent of respondents supported Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, an increase of 2 percent compared to the October survey, while former Premier Salim Hoss came in second with 21.1 percent. Third place was held by "none of the above" with 18.9 percent, ahead of former Premier Najib Mikati, who received 10.2 percent of support, and former Premier Omar Karami at 8.1 percent.
Asked their choice for Parliament speaker, 49 percent of respondents supported Speaker Nabih Berri, while 28.5 percent said "none of the above" and 11.8 percent chose MP Bassem Sabaa.
Asked whether they fear that the international tribunal [to try suspects in the February 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri] will be politicized after accusations were launched against some local forces regarding the killings that followed Hariri's, 56.2 percent of respondents said yes, while 43.8 percent said no.
As for the Paris III donors conference, 42.7 percent of respondents said it constituted political support for the government, while 28.3 percent said it was both, economic support for Lebanon and political support for government, and 27.8 percent said it was aimed at supporting Lebanon economically.
Abdo Saad

Christian
Druze
Shiite
Sunni
General
 
 
 
50.6%
59.6%
50.9%
62.5%
54.4%
yes
Are you afraid there will be a civil war?
Question 1
49.4%
40.4%
49.1%
37.5%
45.6%
No
28.1%
12.8%
86.6%
18.1%
40.4%
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah
Which political leader has most alleyed your fears?
Question 2
9.7%
8.5%
2.3%
57.4%
20.6%
Saad Hariri
24.1%
0%
18.1%
2.8%
15.3%
Micheal Aoun
 
2.1%
0%
0%
6%
Samir Geagea
0.9%
36.2%
0%
3.2%
3.3%
Walid Jounblat
6.6%
8.5%
0 %
11.5%
6.2%
All of the Above
23.4%
34%
8.8%
18.1%
18.6%
No body
29.4%
6.3%
68.5%
8.8%
33.1%
14th of March
Who was responsible for bloody clashes across the country?
Question 3
23.4%
53.2%
4.6%
56.5%
29%
Opposition
44.1%
29.9%
23.6%
32.9%
34.7%
Both
3.1%
10.6%
3.3%
1.8%
3.2%
Don’t know
65.2%
29.8%
94.5%
26.4%
60.6%
yes
Do you support early parliamentary election?
Question 4
34.8%
70.2%
5.5%
73.6%
39.4%
no
34.4%
10.6%
81.9%
10.2%
39.3%
Michael Aoun
Who do you support for president?
Question 5
10.9%
25.5%
2.3%
21.6%
12.3%
Boutros Harb
12.2%
19.1%
3.2%
11.1%
9.9%
Riyad Salame
7.1%
19.1%
3.2%
15.7%
9.1%
Nassib Lahoud
6.6%
0%
0%
1.4%
3%
Samir Geagea
2.2%
0%
0%
7.4%
2.9%
Amine Jemayel
22.5%
25.7%
8.5%
25.9%
19.8%
No body
4.1%
0%
0.9%
6.7%
3.7%
Others

 

Christian

Druze

Shiite

Sunni

General

 

 

 

30.9%

55.3%

6%

63.9%

34.5%

Fouad Al-Seniyora

Who do you support for prime minister?

Question 6

16.9%

17%

39.8%

9.3%

21.1%

Salim Al-Hos

12%

0%

16.2%

3.7%

10.2%

Najib Mikati

5.3%

2.1%

19%

2.8%

8.1%

Omar Karame

3.1%

4.2%

0%

11.6%

4.6%

Saad Hariri

28.4%

21.4%

15.3%

7.8%

18.9%

No body

3.4%

0%

3.7%

0.9%

2.6%

Others

40%

31.9%

85.6%

28.7%

49%

Nabih Berri

Who do you support for parliament speaker?

Question 7

8.7%

34%

0.9%

22.7%

11.8%

Bassem Al-Sabeh

8.7%

2.2%

1.8%

8.3%

6.3%

Hussein Al- Husseini

3.4%

0%

0.5%

0.9%

1.7%

Ahmad Al-Assaad

34.7%

31.9%

11.2%

36.1%

28.5%

No body

4.5%

0%

0%

3.3%

2.7%

Others

42.2%

21.3%

76.4%

14.3%

42.7%

political for the government

Do you see the Paris III conference as economic support for Lebanon or political support for the government?

Question 8

25.6%

19.1%

7.9%

52.8%

27.8%

economic for Lebanon

30.7%

55.3%

14.3%

32.9%

28.3%

Both

1.5%

4.3%

1.4%

0%

1.2%

Don’t know

51.9%

44.7%

85.2%

36.1%

56.2%

yes

Do you fear that the international court will be politicized after accusations regarding assassinations that took place since February 2005 were thrown at some local parties?

Question 9

48.1%

55.3%

14.8%

63.9%

43.8%

No

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