The Zogby Poll of Arabs... Uh Oh.

I had a powerful deja vu experience this evening. On PBS Fareed Zacharia was interviewing Professor Shibley Telhami , holder of the the Anwar Sadat Chair at the University of Maryland about the new Zogby Poll on Arab attitudes and opinions. (Telhami designed the questionnaire and analyzed the results.)


As you might expect, the good old U.S. of A. doesn't fare too well. G.W. Bush is by far the "most disliked" world leader among Arabs of all stripes. He far surpasses the traditional winner, whoever was the current leader of Israel. In fact, Bush beats the combination of Olmert and Sharon.


Professor Telhami noted that the polarization against America has become the driving force uniting Arabs, Shiite, Sunni, et al. The main reason the Arabs admire anyone (including their # 3 favorite world leader Hugo Chavez) is that they stand up to America.


In these powerful findings from a well designed scientific poll there is strong guidance about what's wrong with our current foreign policy. There is a lot of information about how we could be more effective in the vital regions of the Middle East. Information is power, right?


Then the good professor made the comment that caused the deja vu. It reminded me so much of all those times I would deliver a public opinion poll (I did that for 30 years) to a client who didn't want to believe the results. He said "Washington says these conclusions are 'simplistic.'" Right! Not complicated enough to twist and spin into something that fits what the neo-cons believe.


Sigh.


Check out the PowerPoint presentation of the study at http://brookings.edu/views/speeches/telhami20070208.pdf

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