From Angry Arab
“The Greenberg polls found that The Israel Project had its work cut out for it in building Israel’s image in the Arab world. Asked separate questions about their attitude toward Israel and Jews, Palestinians and Jordanians had a universally and completely negative response to both. Egyptians were only somewhat less hostile. On the other hand, a plurality of Egyptians — 46 to 36 percent — approve of their country’s diplomatic relations with Israel. In Jordan, it went the other way — 51 percent opposing those relations and 42 percent approving.” Be very skeptical about American polls in the Arab world. I talked recently to a director of polling at Gallup, and I can affirm the following reasons to be skeptical:

1) Governments are often (especially in Egypt) are notified of the polls and often provide escorts, visible or not;

2) the questions are often drafted in English and don’t translate well into Arabic (I speak about a recent unpublished poll by an American firm and the questions that they gave people in Arabic don’t make sense because of the funny translation;

3) most of them rely on face-to-face interviews and people don’t feel comfortable in expressing their views;

4) the work is often subcontracted to local firms that have political biases (Hariri funding polling firms, for example, do the polling in Lebanon);

5) when interviews are done by phone, people are obviously reluctant to give answers that conflict with the views of the government (you can compare that with a cross section of polls in the Arab world, as I have done;

6) Zogby is more reliable in its polling in the Arab world.

7) the poor are often unpolled or underpolled in the Arab world (just as in Western countries). (Some 25 % of Americans now have only cellphones and no land lines and yet polls rely on land line phone interviews).