Abraham Initiatives, Sikkuy, and the aChord Center published on Monday, July 29th 2019, the results of an in-depth survey examining for the first time the reasons for Arab citizens’ voting patterns.
The survey found that 42% of Arab citizens of voting age are certain or very likely to vote. Only 26% of respondents stated that they are certain or very unlikely to do so. The proportion of undecided respondents 32%, almost one-third of the Arab electorate.
According to the survey, if the center-left parties declare their intention to act on issues of concern to Arab society, such as the wave of crime and violence, it would motivate 30.7% of respondents to vote. The survey, conducted on July 12-19, 2019, before the announcement of the revival of the Joint List of Arab parties, found that forming the Joint List would encourage approximately one-fourth of respondents to cast their vote.
Among the undecided pool, these two factors – commitments by center-left parties and formation of the Joint List – also emerge as the most significant. A commitment by the center-left parties to tackle the main problems facing Arab society would encourage 30.1% of the undecided group to partake in the election, while the formation of the Joint List would encourage 28% to do so. Other important factors for the undecided group include an invitation by the center-left parties to the Arab parties to participate in the coalition (which would influence 24.2% of this group) or a declaration by the center-left parties of their commitment to equality as a key issue (23.6%).
As for the reasons not to vote, the ideological boycott is less widespread then is often assumed: Only 7% of the Arab electorate boycotted the April 2019 election for ideological reasons.
Over a third of Arab citizens withheld their vote due to a sense that their vote has no impact (“my vote is pointless”): 34.2% of respondents who did not vote in April 2019 mentioned this as the reason for their decision.
The survey reveals a slight increase in the expected turnout: 57% of respondents will vote again or stay home in the same way that they did in April 2019. Of respondents who stated that they did not vote in April, 16% said they will certainly or very likely reverse that decision and head to the ballots in September; a further 37% of those who did not vote in April reported that they are still undecided about voting in the next election. The opposite trend – respondents who voted in April but are now considering not voting – is smaller: 6% of respondents who stated that they voted in April said they do not plan to do so in September, while a further 26% of respondents who voted in April are still undecided about the next election.
The survey included 1,055 Arab citizens eligible to vote in the election. The sample was representative in terms of sex; of all age groups from 18 up; of four geographical areas: the Galilee, the “Triangle,” the Negev, and the mixed cities; and of religion – Muslims, Christians and Druze.
The survey was conducted by Prof. Eran Halperin, Siwar Asala, Arik Schumann, and Yossi Hayoun of the aChord Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Data collection was undertaken by the Akfar polling company, headed by Dr. Hisham Jubran. The telephone survey was conducted by dialing cell phone numbers and was conducted in Arabic.