Slippery Polls Uses and Abuses of Opinion Surveys from Arab by David Pollock

By David Pollock

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6 The supporting figures are indeed superficially impressive: 90 percent or more in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Malaysia, and nearly 80 percent in the UAE and Turkey. ”7 The first way this question is loaded is called “courtesy bias,” in this context a tendency for more people to agree than to disagree with most statements presented. The second way is by imbalance and inference, 2. S. , February 13, 2008; as heard). 3. “Fi istitlaa aalami ajra’athu muassasat byu bawl al-amrikiyyah tanaawala ittijaahaat shu’ub al-aalam: al-kuwaitiyun raadun ‘an humkumatihim wa dukhulihim al-maaliyah,” al-Watan (Kuwait), July 27, 2007 (author’s transliteration).

14. Ibid. 15. org, Program on International Policy Attitudes, University of Maryland, “Muslim Public Opinion on US Policy, Attacks on Civilians and al Qaeda,” April 24, 2007. pdf ). 16. ” 20 Policy Focus #82 Slippery Polls  from nine mostly Muslim societies in late 2001—but then follows up by asking whether respondents agree with “news reports” that Arabs were responsible. This choice of wording was perhaps unfortunate because, as Gallup’s own researcher has subsequently noted, anyone who has been to the Middle East and has spent some time there knows that people just do not have faith in official stories of any kind about anything, and this was an official story.

Newspaper headline, however, stresses a completely different finding: Griff Witte and Robin Wright, “Musharraf ’s Approval Rating Plummets,” Washington Post, February 11, 2008. 3. : Pew Research Center, 2006), pp. 40–41. org/pdfs/USCC). 4. org/reports/). 34 Policy Focus #82 Slippery Polls  David Pollock Unfortunately, because of a combination of political and practical constraints, trends over time on this question are available for just a few Arab countries. Following are the most recent Pew results for all Arabs polled: “Suicide bombing of civilians often/sometimes justified” Lebanon Jordan Kuwait Morocco Egypt Palestinians July 2002 May 2005 May 2006 May 2007 74% 43% — — — — 39% 57% — — — — — 29% — — 28% — 34% 23% 21% 11% 8% 70% Other reputable polls show similar results, in response to similar questions, over the same period.

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Slippery Polls Uses and Abuses of Opinion Surveys from Arab by David Pollock
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