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April 16, 2008


Martin Kramer

While you are at it, see David Pollack's new study, Slippery Polls: Uses and Abuses of Opinion Surveys from Arab States. From the abstract:

For better or worse, yesterday's "Arab street" has merged with today's information superhighway. One can hardly pick up a newspaper, turn on the television, or go online without coming across the latest poll numbers purporting to show what Middle Easterners are "really" thinking. Even senior U.S. officials often give such polls pride of place when dealing with the region. All of this attention raises two basic -- yet largely unanswered -- questions: How reliable are these polls? And are their findings useful, or even meaningful?

The polls that fare poorest, in Pollock's estimate, are the Zogby polls used by Telhami. He offers numerous examples of how the framing of questions, their order, etc., all tilt the results. So buyer beware--if you are intellectually skeptical, this is no place to suspend disbelief.

Martin Kramer

Sorry, that's Pollock.


"So buyer beware--if you are intellectually skeptical, this is no place to suspend disbelief."

I'd agree with any statement about being careful about poll results, and being meticulous about methodology, etc., but this criticism coming from Pollock, from WINEP??

I didn't know they were considered objective sources.

Batir Wardam

A 16% popularity for Bashar Al Asad? This is momentous. Why should freedom lovers in the Arab World support a ruler who jails any opposing voice in his country and does nothing but rhetoric? The conclusion: stand verbally against the USA and you win popularity.

UAE Students

The Al Jazeera Phenomenon continues to grow, however there is a school of thought questioning actual viewership. When asked people are likely to say they watch it, but actual viewership is difficult to measure.
There is an interview with Al Jazeera's Faisal al Kasim on the UAE Students blog uaestudents.blogspot.com/


Luci: Pollock is a former State Department Policy Planning staff and USIA official. The insinuation that he's somehow less capable or biased because he's a WINEP guy is pretty silly. It says more about your biases than it does his.

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