25 April 2016

How the 'Arab Youth Survey' was skewed - Emirati poll has problems with methodology

The annual Arab Youth Survey has been getting a lot of media attention since its findings were published earlier this month. Worldwide, it has generated a couple of hundred news items and three Emirati newspapers – Gulf News, The National and Khaleej Times – have produced no fewer than 17 items between them. In the US, the Washington Post alone has had three articles about it (here, here and here).

Much of this coverage has focused on the survey's not-very-surprising "discovery" that the vast majority of young Arabs interviewed disapprove of IS and have no intention of joining it. Some of the other findings are more interesting – for example, that a majority of youth in the GCC states (57%) support the nuclear deal with Iran. The introduction to the survey adds:

.... At first sight, the Arab Youth Survey is a serious piece of research but its credibility and independence are somewhat undermined by its links to the United Arab Emirates and by another of the survey's reported findings – that young Arabs view the UAE as "a model country that is economically secure, and is the most favoured nation to live in and set up a business". It is the fifth year running that the survey has come up with this result. [al-bab.com] Read more