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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Syrian public opinion survey: Doesn't sound like the Golan is the biggest concern in their lives

A survey (40-page pdf link) of Syrian public opinion done by Pepperdine University shows that most Syrians would like martial law lifted and believe that their government is corrupt. Most of them don't seem to be waiting up at night worrying about 'recovering' the Golan Heights because they are not even mentioned in the survey.
With all appropriate caveats, here are some of the interesting findings:

* Quality of life: 39% described their personal and family situation as good or very good, 25% as bad or very bad, and the rest as neither good nor bad; only 25% expected it to get worse in the future.
* Politics. 60% described the political and economic situation of the country as bad or very bad, however, and just under 10% as good. Only 17% expressed optimism that the situation would improve. Almost 80% said that martial law should be lifted. Only 7% rated the performance of government institutions positively.
* Civil society: 68% said that they rarely or never participated in unions, clubs, charitable organizations or other voluntary associations.
* Media: 60.5% have internet access at home or at work, and 97% access to satellite TV. The two most popular TV programs are an historical soap opera and al-Jazeera’s political talk show The Opposite Direction.
* Corruption. 87% said they considered corruption to be widespread.


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