Largest Arab opinion poll finds huge appetite for democracy among Arab citizens

09.10.2020

The results of the largest opinion poll of its kind in the Arab world have been released by The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) with almost 30 thousand respondents across 13 Arab countries and more than 900 researchers taking part.

88% of citizens refuse to recognise the state of Israel, citing political reasons as opposed to religious or cultural ones.

The poll touched upon the issues facing Arabs living within the region as well as their opinions about global events. Given the huge controversies surrounding migration, Israeli-Arab relations, the upcoming U.S. elections and so forth, the findings constitute highly significant trends in Arab public opinion. The full report can be accessed here.

Democracy and politics:

There is near unanimous support for democracy. 76% of Arabs support a democratic system.

74% of Arabs stated that a pluralist democratic system would be appropriate for their countries.

Citizens’ confidence in state institutions is variable. Arab public opinion is split on the performance of parliaments’ oversight of government or representation of society. Approximately half of respondents (47%) believe that parliaments are carrying out their duties properly, while the other half do not.

Since 2011, the majority of respondents have looked positively at the Arab Spring, with 58% stating that the revolutions and protests of that year were positive (very or somewhat positive). (This is despite developments since 2011).

48% of respondents stated that the Arab Spring is facing obstacles, but will ultimately achieve its goals.

More than half of respondents characterised U.S. policy on Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen as bad.

91% of Arabs believe that financial and administrative corruption is present in their country to varying degrees.

Israel and Arab-Israeli relations:

88% of citizens refuse to recognise the state of Israel, citing political reasons as opposed to religious or cultural ones.

The majority Saudi citizens reject recognition of Israel, in spite of a high rate of nonresponse in the Saudi context given current conditions of repression.

Terrorism and Islamic State:

92% of the Arab public has a negative view of ISIL. 91% believe that financial and administrative corruption is present in their country, to varying degrees.

The entire report also covers pertinent issues such as education, the economy, migration and religion. Almost 30 thousand individual respondents in 13 Arab countries (Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar) took part.

The survey included representative samples from all countries according to the PPS method, with a margin of error of +/- 2-3%. It is the fruit of some 69,578 hours of work by more than 900 researchers in areas requiring 820,000km of travel, making it the largest public opinion survey in the Arab World in terms of sample size, the number of countries covered, the number of variables tested, and the volume of data collected.

The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) is an independent research institute for the study of the social sciences and humanities, with particular emphasis on the applied social sciences. It seeks to examine the key issues afflicting the Arab world, governments, and communities; to analyze social, economic, and cultural policies; and to provide rational political analysis on the region.

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