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Brookings: 2011 Arab Public Opinion Poll

Author: Shibley Telhami, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution
November 21, 2011


This poll, conducted by Shibley Telhami, surveyed three thousand people in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates in October 2011, assessing attitudes toward the United States and the Obama administration, prospects for Arab-Israeli peace, the impact of the Arab awakening, the outlook for the Egyptian elections, and opinions on where the region is headed politically.

Turkey is the biggest winner of the Arab Spring. In the five countries polled, Turkey is seen to have played the "most constructive" role in the Arab events. Its prime minister, Recep Erdoğan, is the most admired among world leaders, and those who envision a new president for Egypt want the new president to look most like Erdoğan. Egyptians want their country to look more like Turkey than any of the other Muslim, Arab and other choices provided.

Iran suffered mixed results. More people in 2011 identify Iran as one of the two biggest threats they face than ever before (18%), and, in contrast with 2010, a plurality (35%) of those polled now believe that if Iran acquires weapons of mass destruction it would be negative for the Middle East. On the other hand, Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, remains relatively popular, and most (64%) Arabs still feel that Iran has the right to its nuclear program and should not be pressured by the international community to halt.

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