Posted on June 03, 2014 in Reports

In 2009, President Obama delivered his landmark speech in Cairo - a speech that was largely received with enthusiasm by an Arab world ready for a new era of U.S. policy. This poll looks at the major issues driving Arab attitudes toward the United States five years later in seven Arab countries. The poll examines Arab attitudes toward U.S. policy on the Syrian conflict, Egypt's interim government, negotiations with Iran, the two-state solution, and U.S. commitments to improving ties with the Arab World.

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Key Findings

  • Despite the persistence of negative attitudes toward several U.S. policies in the Arab World, there has been an uptick in U.S. favorable ratings in some Arab countries and an increase in Arab support for President Obama in all countries.
  • In most Arab countries, attitudes toward the United States are back to where they were in 2009, and are higher than the Bush-era lows.
  • Arabs judge the Obama Administration to have been most effective in “ending the U.S. presence in Iraq” and “working to end Iran’s nuclear program” and least effective in “improving relations with the Arab/Muslim Worlds” and handling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Arab Spring.
  • On Syria: Strong majorities in every country favor U.S. policies that support a negotiated solution to the conflict, coupled with more support for Syrian refugees. Majorities in all countries oppose any form of U.S. military engagement (i.e., “no-fly zone,” air strikes, or supplying advanced weapons to the opposition).
  • On Egypt: Majorities in most of the Arab countries covered in the study say the United States was too supportive of Hosni Mubarak and not supportive enough of Mohammed Morsi. Opinion is divided on whether the United States has shown too much or not enough support for the current interim government.
  • On Iran: There appears to be strong Arab support for the U.S.-led negotiations to limit Iran’s nuclear program, but little confidence that these negotiations will succeed or that they will be of benefit to Arab countries.
  • On Palestine and Democracy: Strong majorities in every Arab country believe that the United States is not even-handed in its approach to Israeli-Palestinian peace-making and have very little confidence that the United States is committed to an independent Palestinian state.
  • There is a sharp decline in confidence that the United States is committed to democracy across the Middle East.


In each country, the selected study centers were stratified depending on the predominant social class/income levels of the people residing in various areas (and in case of Beirut, the religious clusters). These strata were further sub-divided into blocks of roughly equal size, based on available data about population. Thereafter, blocks were selected at random depending on the sample size for that center and keeping in mind the social class/religious cluster distribution. A pre-assigned number of starting points were used for each selected block and sampling within the blocks was undertaken using right hand rule method. Within each selected household that agreed to participate, we took an inventory of all family members over 18 years of age and randomly select one adult to be interviewed in a way that ensured that both genders had an equal chance of inclusion, with no one allowed to self-select into the sample. For this, we used the Kish Grid approach. The sample sizes and geographic coverage in each country can be found in the poll.


Press Coverage:

"Thinking Aloud: 'Five Years After the Cairo Speech': Syria." Not What You Might Think. June 8, 2014.

Deena Zaru, "How the Arab World Views President Obama." CNN. June 7, 2014.

David Pollock, "Palestinians want Hamas In, but Want Peace Talks Too." The Washington Institute for Near East Peace, June 6, 2014.

Barbara Slavin, "Senate Should Not Pass New Iran Sanctions Now." Payvand Iran News, June 6, 2014.

Mohamed Elshinnawi, "Arabs' Ire Directed at US Policy, Not Obama, Poll Shows." Voice of America, June 5, 2014.

Larbi Amine, "Zogby Research Services LLD: Ce que pensent les marocains de Barack Obama." le mag, June 5, 2014.

Abderrahim Azara, "Zogby Research Services: 80% of Moroccans Consider the Importance of Relations with the U.S." The Moroccan Times, June 5, 2014.

"5 Years After the Cairo Speech: How Arabs View President Obama and America - Watch the Poll Release Discussion and CNN Videos." Paderborner 'SJ' Blog, June 5, 2014.

Ariel Cohen, "Poll Shows Obama's Recent Popularity In Arab World." The Daily Caller, June 4, 2014.

Barbara Slavin, "Senate Should Not Pass New Iran Sanctions Now." Voice of America, June 4, 2014.

Rebecca Shabad, "Arab countries have warmed to Obama, poll finds." The Hill, June 4, 2014.

Jennifer Fendrick, "Do Arabs Like Obama?", June 4, 2014.

Maria Santangelo, "Poll Reveals Subtle Uptick In Arab Opinion of Obama." Talk Radio News Service, June 4, 2014.

"Five years after Cairo speech, Arabs warm to Obama - if ever so slightly." The Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2014.

"Arabieren iets positiever over Amerikaanse president Obama." Mondiaal Nieuws, June 4, 2012.

Ben Bullard, "Obama's Popularity Drops in U.S. As it Increases In The Arab World." Personal Liberty Digest, June 4, 2014.

"Arab Publics Prefer Light U.S. Footprint, Even in Syria." Inter Press Service, June 4, 2014.

"Dukungan Obama dari Warga Arab Dibawah 50 Persen." Metro TV News, June 4, 2014.

"Árabes se oponen a política estadounidense contra Siria." Prensa Latina, June 4, 2014. 

Barbara Slavin, "Poll: Most Arabs opposse US military force in Syria." Al-Monitor, June 3, 2014

"Arabs mostly give Obama negative 2014 report card." Agence France-Presse, June 3, 2014.

"Barack Obama toujous peu populaire dans le monde arabe." La Presse, June 3, 2014.

Adam Taylor, "New poll claims to show most popular U.S. president among Arab nations – and the least." Washington Post, June 3, 2014.

Watch the Poll Release Discussion Panel:


Watch AAI President Jim Zogby Discuss the Poll with Wolf Blitzer on CNN: