This House believes that progress towards democracy has halted in the Arab world

Tuesday September 16 2008
MOTION PASSED by 64% to 36%

Opinion poll


Doha, Qatar October 23, 2008: Almost two thirds of Arabs would choose stability over democracy, according to a poll commissioned by The Doha Debates.

A clear majority also said they believed that the Middle East is more democratic today than in 2004.

The results of the poll contradict the vote at a recent session of The Doha Debates where 64 per cent said they believed progress towards democracy had come to a halt in the region.

The survey, conducted by YouGovSiraj between 6th and 11th October, questioned 935 respondents from a total regional online panel of 149,000 in the Gulf, Levant, Iraq, and North Africa.

Four out of ten respondents cited Western interference as the primary impediment to greater democracy in the Arab world, with 28 per cent blaming Arab policy makers.

The UAE was seen as the most democratic country in the Arab world, receiving exactly a quarter of the vote, with Lebanon a close second.  But 70 per cent of respondents said they wanted more democracy in their country of residence.

In all, the survey showed overwhelming optimism among Arabs about their democratic prospects: 90 per cent say women should have the right to vote; 77 per cent feel that democracy is a source of strength for a nation; and 81 per cent believe that democracy is compatible with Islam.

Polling dates: 6 -11 October, 2008

Download the polling data [PDF]

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