Based on the survey, conducted by iPOS on March 2016, in the view of a decisive majority of Iranians, jobs/unemployment, the economy in general, and youth problems are the issues facing the country which most deserve the consideration and action of the new parliament.

A majority of respondents also express a preference for economic prosperity over decomcratic governance by an overwhelming margin of 71% to 18%.

Below are the highlights of iPOS' recent survey:

Top Priorities for the New Parliament

Iranians are overwhelmingly concerned about economic issues related to jobs/unemployment and the economy compared to other issues facing the country that deserve action of the new parliament.

Q. In general, what should the new parliament’s top three priorities be? [Open-ended question]

Top Priorities of the New Parliament % % Multi Response
Jobs/Unemployment 28.6% 53.1%
The Economy 25.1% 46.7%
Youth 8.6% 16.1%
Inflation 8.3% 15.5%
Housing 4.8% 8.9%
General Problems of the Iranian People 3.4% 6.3%
Anti-Corruption Efforts 3.2% 6.0%
Foreign Policy (and Sanctions) 2.8% 5.2%
Political Issues Inside the Country 1.7% 3.2%
Security 1.6% 3.0%
Drugs 1.5% 2.7%
Rural Area Issues (and Agricultural Problems) 1.3% 2.4%
Education 1.2% 2.2%
Human Rights 1.1% 2.1%
Keeping Promises 0.9% 1.6%
Healthcare 0.6% 1.1%
Laws and Regulation (Reform and Enforcement) 0.6% 1.0%
The Environment 0.5% 0.9%
Others 4.2% 7.8%
Total 100% 186%

Election Awareness

50% of Iranians said that they followed election news a great deal, a lot, or somewhat.

Q. There’s a lot of talk about election news these days; how much do you personally follow such news?

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Media Sources for Election News

Iran’s state radio and television was the primary source for election news among people who follow election news (43%).

Q: What sources did you chiefly use to keep up with this sort of news? For example: newspapers, radio, television, internet, satellite, Viber and Telegram, or word of mouth? (This question was not posed to those respondents who, for the previous question, said that they do not at all follow news regarding elections. Every respondent was able to designate up to three kinds of media sources.)

Media Source for Election News % % Multi Responses
National TV & Radio 43% 64%
Word Of Mouth 15% 23%
Internet 12% 17%
Telegram 11% 16%
Satellite 6% 9%
Newspaper 6% 8%
Leaflets, Billboard 5% 8%
Others 2% 3%
Total 100% 148%

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Media Sources (Satellite)

BBC Persian was the first choice of media outlet among those respondents who followed election news by way of satellite television (45%)

Q: What satellite channel did you chiefly use to keep up with this sort of news? (This question was posed to individuals who, in the previous question, indicated that they follow election news by way of satellite. Every respondent was able to designate up to three networks).

Media Source - Satellite % % Multi Responses
BBC 45% 75%
Voice of America 23% 39%
Manoto TV 23% 38%
Others 9% 16%
Total 100% 168%

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Level of Freedom of the Election

Twenty-five percent of Iranians believed that the parliamentary election was completely free and a majority of respondents, 60%, believed the election was somewhat free. Moreover, 9% registered the opinion that the election was a little free (5%) or not free at all (4%). This differs from a pre-election survey conducted by iPOS in which approximately 46% percent of Iranians believed that the parliamentary elections will be somewhat free.

Q: If you were to give an overall assessment, in your opinion how free was the parliamentary election as it was administered? Were people able to be freely nominated and subjected to the vote of the people? Was it completely free, free to some extent, or not free at all?

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Reformists More Capable of Solving National Problems than Principalists

According to the survey, the largest number of Iranians (47%) did not choose to identify with a particular political group inside the country. Of those who stated that the Reformists are capable of solving problems facing the country (20%) outnumber those who believe that Principalists are capable of solving problems facing the country (9%) by 2 to 1.

Q: You may well be aware that blocs exists in the political landscape of Iran. For example, there are some groups which refer to themselves as Principalists, Reformists, or Moderates. In your opinion which one of these groups would do a better job of solving the problems the country is now facing?

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The largest number of respondents, 37% said that they did not know which political group affiliation they agreed with. Among those who express a definite partisan preference, Iranians lean toward the Reformist camp by 2 to 1.

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Capability of the New Parliament to Combat Corruption

Nine percent of Iranians believe that the new parliament will have a greater capability to combat domestic corruption, while 32% believe that parliament will be capable of fighting corruption to an extent. Conversely, 31% believe that the new parliament will not be capable of such efforts.

Q. In your opinion, how capable is the Parliament when it comes to combatting corruption and bribery? Greatly capable, capable to an extent, without much capability, or not at all capable?

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Youth and Women

Many Iranians agree that politicians do not listen to the needs and ideas of young people and women.

Q. Please tell me how much you agree or disagree with each sentence according to the following scale: wholly agree, partially agree, entirely disagree or partially disagree? Politicians do not listen to the needs and ideas of young people. Politicians do not listen to the needs and ideas of women.

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Women’s Needs and Ideas by Gender

Female respondents are more likely than male respondents to believe that politicians neglect the needs and ideas of women to a statistically meaningful degree.

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There is a marked gender gap among male and female respondents when it comes to the public’s assessment of politicians’ response to the needs and ideas of women. 45% of female respondents agree or completely agree with the statement that politicians do not listen to the needs and ideas of women, while only 28% disagree or completely disagree. Male respondents are less likely to agree with such a statement with 41% who disagree outright and 33% agree.

Young People’s Needs and Ideas by Age Group

Compared to other age groups, those who are 60 or older are least likely to agree with the statement that politicians do not listen to the needs and ideas of young people.

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Direction of the Country

Most Iranians believe that their country is currently headed in the right direction.

Q. In your opinion, would you say things in our country are currently heading in the right direction, or are they on the wrong track?

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Iranians Support Economic Prosperity over Democracy

Iranians express a preference for economic prosperity over democratic governance by an overwhelming margin of 71% to 18%.

Q. If you could have only one or the other, which would be more important to you: a democratic system of government or a prosperous economy?

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Institutions Affected by Corruption

Iranians’ evaluation of corruption rates among different institutions show that people generally deem local governing councils and the Courts and Justice Department to be the most corrupted bodies at rates of 70% and 52% respectively.

Q. I’ll now read a list of few institutions. Please tell me to what extent you believe these institutions to be corrupt: very little, a little, a lot or great deal (List of Institutions: 1- The Government 2- The Parliament 3- Courts and the Justice Department 4- The Guardian Council 5- Local Governing Councils 6- The Assembly of Experts)

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The government, parliament, Guardian Council, and Assembly of Experts are deemed corrupt at rates of 35%, 30%, 19% and 14% respectively. In light of such results, we can say that respondents were generally able to register their assessment about the level of corruption in local governing council and the courts and Justice Department. For the other four institutions, however, at least 40% of respondents either refuse to answer the question or state that they are not informed. The level of uncertainty is greatest for the Assembly of Experts, about which 54% of respondents claim no knowledge of corruption. The Guardian Council, the parliament, and the government came next in this list with 51%, 49%, and 40% respectively.

Iranian Presence in Syria: Agreement with Security Presence, Disagreement with Financial Assistance

Most Iranians, 47%, agree with the Iranian security forces presence in Syria and 29% disagree. However, Iranians are more likely to disagree with financial assistance to the country, 43%, than to agree, 38%, respectively.

Q. These days there’s occasionally coverage of the Iranian security forces’ presence in Syria. I’d like to know: do you agree or disagree with this presence? A lot or a little?

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Q. Do you agree or disagree with the proposition that Iran should provide financial assistance to Syria?

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Survey Methods:

  • Results are based on telephone interviews (cellphone and landline) conducted from March 11, 2016 to March 24, 2016 (excluding March 20, 2016) with a random sample of 1,077 Iranian adults aged 18 and older who currently reside in Iran.
  • The iPOS proportional two-stage sample includes respondents from every province in Iran. Provinces have been categorized into three groups based on their human development index (HDI).
  • Based on the sample, it can be stated with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is between ± 2.99 and ± 3.51 percentage points, depending on the number of respondents for each question.
  • Native Farsi speakers conducted the interviews during daylight hours in Iran. Interviewers were trained prior to conducting the poll.
  • Nine demographic variables including gender, age, province of residence, location (urban or rural), education, language, ethnicity, religion, and residential situation have been considered in this poll. Results are weighted by gender, age, and location (urban vs. rural areas) based on the Iranian national census of 2011.
  • Rates of respondent candor and reliability were appraised by experienced interviewers. 16 persons found to be lacking in these areas were removed from the sample.
  • Aside from demographic variables, two ground variables (communication variables) were used to gauge respondents’ level of awareness concerning the questions taken up in this survey:

    • The extent to which respondents follow election news.
    • The media outlets and sources respondents cite using to keep up with election news.

Background

Elections for Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) and Assembly of Experts were held on February 26, 2016 with run-off elections occurring on April 29, 2016. A coalition of “Moderates” according to Iranian political definition, supported by some reformists, stood to gain seats. The coalition included President Rouhani’s supporters and two former presidents, Mr. Mohammad Khatami and Mr. Ali Akbar Hashemi and won a landslide majority of seats in Tehran in both Parliament and the Assembly of Experts. Conversely, the Principalists and their political champions like Mr. Haddad Adel, the former speaker of the Parliament, and high-ranking religious clerics including Mr. Ali Janati, the current head of the Guardian Council, Mr. Mohammad Yazdi, chairman of the Assembly of Experts and Mr. Mesbah-Yazdi, spiritual leader of the Iranian hardliners, lost every single seat in the Tehran parliamentary contest. Moreover, both Mr. Yazdi and Mr. Mesbah-Yazdi failed to garner enough votes in the Assembly of Experts election. Among a total 16 seats designated for Tehran representatives to the Assembly of Experts, 15 have been filled with candidates included on the coalition list endorsed by Khatami and Rouhani. The only other candidate who managed sufficient votes for an Assembly of Experts position was Mr. Janati, who came in at 16th place.

The preliminary victory does not, however, mean that the Moderates and Reformist Coalition will enjoy a majority in the new parliament. In the lead up to the election, the Guardian Council vetoed the candidacies of 90 percent of reformist politicians. Additionally, many of Iran’s parliamentary mechanisms work in the Principalists’ favor (especially in the case of single-member districts) due to prior partisan disqualification of many Reformist candidates for both bodies. Of 290 total seats contested in parliament, Reformists fielded 140 candidates and supported another 90 who are not formally affiliated with Reformist ideology but share some Reformist values and goals to an extent. This bloc includes non-Reformists, however, such as moderate conservatives represented by Ali Larijani, the current speaker of the parliament, who is tied to an informal political coalition with Rouhani.

Purpose of this Survey

iPOS conducted the poll to analyze the post-election political atmosphere of Iran, including assessment of the level of freedom of the election, the functionality and affiliation of political groups, assessment of the favorability of some political figures, measuring Iranian voters’ top priorities for the new parliament’s work, and the new parliament’s capability vis a vis anti-corruption efforts.

In this survey, iPOS evaluated Iranians’ assessments of issues which they may find important, including priorities of democratic governance vs. economic prosperity, the needs and ideas of young people and women, level of corruption across different branches of government, and the Iranian government’s policy of military and financial assistance to the Syrian regime.