Posted on October 08, 2013 in Reports

From August 4 through August 31, 2013, Zogby Research Services surveyed 3,031 Tunisian adults to determine their attitudes toward the developments that have unfolded in Tunisia since their revolution of two and a half years ago.

What we found was a deeply dissatisfied electorate and an extremely polarized society. In some ways the divisions in Tunisia are similar to those we found in Egypt, in the poll we conducted in May of 2013, just prior to the June 30th Tamarrod demonstrations that culminated in the military’s deposing the elected government of President Mohamed Morsi on July 3rd.

As was the case in Egypt, a majority of Tunisians have lost the hope they had two and a half years ago. As in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood-led government, headed in Tunisia by Ennahda, has diminished support and is currently distrusted by almost three-quarters of the electorate. Just as Egyptians were upset that the ruling Freedom and Justice Party (Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood party) had monopolized power, Tunisians are concerned that Ennahda (the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood group) is also dominating the government. And as in Egypt, the governing party, Ennahda, now has the confidence of only 28% of Tunisians—and this 28% is almost exclusively comprised of Ennahda supporters. While more than 90% of Ennahda supporters show some degree of support for the government, more than 95% of the rest of Tunisians (72% of the population) do not support the government.

Also similar to the situation that existed in Egypt is the fact that the 72% of the rest of the electorate is divided amongst a number of relatively weak parties with no one party able to muster the confidence of more than one-quarter of the adult population.

There are, however, some real differences between Egypt and Tunisia. Unlike Egypt, Tunisians are not looking to the military to make change. In fact, a majority of Tunisians (53%) say that they believe that the action by the Egyptian military was “incorrect.” The organized Tunisian opposition, to date, is comprised of a coalition of secular parties and the country’s trade union movement. And while Tunisians are deeply concerned that Ennahda tolerated, for too long, the activities of extremist Salafi groups – which they blame for the recent assassinations of two popular leftist political leaders—it appears from the poll that the fear of “Islamization” of the country is not a major factor in the public’s discontent with the government. Rather, the poll makes clear that the majority of Tunisians are disturbed by the government’s ineffectiveness and its failure to deliver on the political and economic promises of their revolution.

Our poll also shows:

  • two-thirds of Tunisians feel their country is moving in the wrong direction;
  • less than one-third of Tunisians say that the government has been effective in addressing priority concerns like: expanding employment opportunities, dealing with the high cost of living, and protecting personal and civil rights;
  • on none of the 11 political concerns identified in the poll does a majority of Tunisians agree that the government has been effective; and
  • almost three-quarters of all Tunisians say that the current government is “dominated by Ennahda” and is not “a balanced coalition that insures moderation,” with the same number saying they believe that Ennahda is not committed to “fulfilling the goals of the revolution.”

Download the poll Download the PDF

Press Coverage:

"Tunisia: Divided and Dissatisfied with Ennahda." Middle East Institute, October 8, 2013

Barbara Slavin, "Tunisians Lose Faith in Ennahda, Revolution." Al-Monitor, September 30, 2013