Opinion Polls

A breakdown of Arab attitudes on various subjects.

Summary

We continue to ask Arabs situated across the globe questions about their attitudes towards a variety of global issues.

In a globalised world, Arabs have mixed, diverse and often contradicting views. For example, a majority recognise Hamas as a terrorist organisation whilst a substantial majority also recognise Israel as a nation. On the other hand, a substantial majority of Arabs simultaneously oppose foreign intervention in Syria.

A final thing to note is that Arabs would not generally sacrifice stability for democracy, but are prepared to sacrifice stability for freedom. Perhaps the term “democracy” has developed more of a Western connotation compared to the term “freedom”, and thus warrants caution in the context of foreign policy.

Israel & Palestine

Whether or not you are pro-Palestine, do you recognise Israel as a nation?

Yes 67%

Whether or not you are pro-Palestine, do you believe that Hamas is a terrorist organisation?

Yes 60%

Younger Arabs are born after the establishment of Israel as a nation-state in 1948. They have therefore lived never knowing of a world without Israel. As a result, the balance of younger and older Arab views on the conflict creates a spread and diversity of attitudes.

Whilst the majority of young Arabs may recognise Israel as a nation, this does not necessarily reflect support for Israeli policy towards the Palestinians.

Most Arabs who recognise Israel and simultaneously denounce Hamas tend to be Arabs who are born in or migrated to Western countries; this could include older generations.

A split of the data between Arab demographic groups inside and outside the Arab world may, however, yield very different attitudes on Hamas.

Syria

Do you think RT/Russia Today is a biased media outlet?

Yes 80%

Do you consider Bashar al-Assad to be the legitimate leader of Syria?

Yes 45%

The vast majority of Arabs believe that Russia Today is a biased media outlet. Arabs in general do, however, prefer to watch Russia Today compared with other conventional news channels like BBC News.

As with Hamas – an entirely different form of governance – Arab attitudes on the legitimacy of Bashar al-Assad tend to be more divided between Arabs who live inside and outside the Arab world.

Arab Spring

In general, do you have a favourable perception of Monarchy?

Yes 63%

Large sample size

If you had to choose between freedom and stability, would you choose freedom?

Yes 61%

If you had to choose between democracy and stability, would you choose democracy?

Yes 44%

Low sample size

Arabs tend to place a high importance on stability and are unlikely to jeopardise their stability unless it results in greater political and economic freedoms. It is, however, important to note that Arab millennials tend to be less risk averse than Arab baby boomers.

A split of the results according to different generations of Arabs would reveal different degrees of preference towards freedom.

Colonialism

Do you think it is acceptable to ever acknowledge some of the benefits of colonialism?

Yes 56%

Arabs living both in the West and in postcolonial Arab countries may both be influenced by colonial attitudes. Arabs do, however, generally agree that the costs of colonialism outweigh the few benefits that they may or may not identify.

Culture & Religion

Do you think wearing hijab can ever be an expression of feminism?

Yes 93%

Do you believe in evil eye, black magic and/or fortune telling in a supernatural/spiritual sense?

Yes 44%

Do you find it difficult to fit Ramadan around your modern life?

Yes 40%

Low sample size

Do you prefer to marry a partner from your native country over an Arab/non-Arab in the West?

Yes 31%

Regarding marriage preferences, the desire of Arabs to marry Arabs outside the region could reflect the comparative socioeconomic situation between the Arab world and the West.

Regarding belief in superstitions, we are yet to determine if there is a generational or situational difference within these results.