The Perception of Refugees in Jordan Survey (Wave II) took place during the month of May.
The sample comprised of 3,216 Jordanians from Amman (1754), Irbid (925), Karak (273), and Mafraq (264). The survey tool itself was designed by UNHCR.
Respondents were first asked to indicate whether they were sympathetic towards people who come to Jordan to escape conflict and persecution for reasons of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion as well as those who seek better economic opportunities and a better future for themselves and their children.
Respondents maintained the pattern of their tendency towards refugees in Jordan as wave 1`s findings illustrated in October-2020, where they indicated in May-2021 that they are more “very sympathetic” towards those who escape conflict and persecution (56%) than those who come to Jordan to seek better economic opportunities (32.4%). But it is worth noting that there is a noticeable decline estimated by more than 6 points, when talking about those who are “Very Sympathetic” towards those who are seeking better economic opportunities and better future in May-2021.
When asked about the governments approach towards refugees, the respondents seemed to agree that the Jordanian Government’s approach towards refugees was positive (79%) with decreasing can be observed by almost 4 points in May-2021 comparing with wave 1`s findings and 89% of respondents graded the Jordanian Government response towards refugees as “over sufficient”, “very sufficient”, or “somewhat sufficient”, when comparing this result with wave 1 in October-2020 we can observe that there is a considerable increasing for those who graded the Jordanian Government as “over sufficient” or “very sufficient”, estimated by 9 points and 7 points, respectively. This goes together and shows a relatively unified opinion on what the government has been and still is offering refugees.
The majority of respondents coinciding with how they described the Jordanian public perception of refugees. As when they were asked how they would describe the Jordanian public perception of refugees, 63% said positive with decline by 1.2 points in May-2021 comparing with October-2020, and when they were then asked what their opinion of refugees in Jordan is, 46% indicated that they were empathetic towards them, 18% said that they forced to leave their home country, 9% had a positive view, and 3% they illustrated that they need help.
The respondents were then asked to what extent they agree or disagree with a number of statements. 95% of respondents agreed with the statement that says “there are too many refugees in Jordan”, 86% illustrated that they are agreeing with the statement that says, “Jordan has done more than it needs to support refugees”, as well as 74% think Jordan should focus on helping Jordanians not refugees. This gives a negative indicator as to where the opinion of Jordanians might be headed, especially considering the economic circumstances. To further exacerbate the situation, 72% think that refugees get more help than Jordanians. When looking more in-depth to how the different demographics answered to this statement, it becomes clear that respondents from Mafraq agree the most with the statement, followed by Irbid and then Karak, whereas Amman is the most likely to disagree. Looking at income, the higher the respondents’ income the more likely they are to disagree that refugees get more help than Jordanians.
Respondents were also split on whether refugees should be deported back to their home countries with 48% thinking that they shouldn’t, and 30% thinking that they should be.
However, the large majority (77%) believe that refugees do deserve our support.
Going back to the potential consequences of the current economic situation on Jordanians’ perception of Refugees, 19% of respondents said that the impact of Covid-19 has changed their opinion on refugees positively even though 95% of respondents indicated that Covid-19 has had a negative impact on their economic situation.
Moving on to organizations help refugees in Jordan, the top four organizations respondents have mentioned were UNRWA, UNICEF, UNHCR, respectively. The least mentioned were UN and Red Crescent, respectively.
When analyzing the respondents’ opinions on the main role of UNHCR, nearly 16% of the respondents confirmed that UNHCR's main role is to provide refugees with In-Kind aids such as clothes and food, followed by those who believe the main role of UNHCR is to Provide assistance and support all refugees in general without mentioning their nationality or the sort of the assistance, almost 13% of the respondents think that UNCHR support the refugees with financial aids, and 5.5% they emphasized that UNHCR's main role is managing and monitoring the refugees affairs. It is worth mentioning here that more than third (36.1%) of the respondents do not know what the main role of UNHCR is.
Conclusion In general terms, the study finds that there were some components that could be enhanced for future waves. First, the survey should have more defined sections. For example, all questions pertaining to the economy should grouped together, and the same goes for questions addressing sympathy, and so forth.
It is also suggested that the section on sympathy is expanded to include further questions. This is to extrapolate respondents’ perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. Such questions can include, “How sympathetic would you be towards refugees, when the crisis in their home country ends?”.
There were a number of responses worth highlighting. For instance, some respondents indicated that Jordanians need help beside the refugees, Palestinians need help, and all those in need of help should be supported.
It is also worth noting that many respondents conflate international organizations together, and notably they do not necessarily distinguish between the roles of USAID, UNHCR, and other UN agencies. There were also many respondents who stated that they did not know when asked “what organizations come to mind when you think about organizations that help refugees?” and “what do you say the main role of UNHCR in Jordan is? Please describe”.