Most Americans view Qatar negatively, poll cites
Only 27% of Americans see Qatar as ‘US friend or ally’ according to a new Arab News / YouGov poll
Survey marking two months since crisis began finds that most Americans aware of it identify terror accusations against Doha as main reason for rift. 69% either unsure if US military base should remain in Qatar, or think it should be moved. Al Jazeera is a platform for terror groups, say majority of those with opinion on the matter
JEDDAH (5 August 2017): Just 27 percent of Americans consider Qatar as a friend or ally to the US, while many associate Doha with accusations of terror financing, an Arab News / YouGov poll has found.
The survey of 2,263 US citizens, conducted in July, also found that 31 percent of Americans consider Qatar to be an enemy of their country, while 43 percent either don’t know or are unsure about how to classify the relationship with Doha.
The Arab News / YouGov poll on how the US views the Qatar crisis was carried out to mark the 60 days since the start of the diplomatic rift between Qatar and its Arab neighbors Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.
It found that 71 percent of Americans are aware, to various extents, of the diplomatic row. It also found that those who are aware have a good understanding of the reasons behind the crisis, with 67 percent correctly identifying that Qatar had been accused of supporting terror groups and meddling with the internal affairs of regional countries.
“Two months into the crisis, and given the US government’s keenness to mediate; it was important to gauge the sentiment of the American people with regard to this issue,” said Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Arab News — the Saudi Arabia-based English language daily that commissioned the study.
Stephan Shakespeare, CEO of YouGov — the globally renowned online polling company — noted that the American public “is not usually characterized by its high interest in foreign affairs, rather the opposite. However, this latest poll shows the current tensions between Qatar and its neighbors is gaining some significant attention.”
The poll also sought to measure public opinion regarding the US military base in Qatar. The Al-Udeid Air Base currently hosts more than 11,000 American soldiers. However, 49 percent of Americans say they are unsure if it is best for the base to remain there, while 20 percent thought that it should be moved somewhere else. Only 31 percent said the base should remain in Qatar.
The study also revealed several findings regarding the Qatar-owned Al Jazeera news network. At one point during the crisis the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt — called for a shutdown of the network over its editorial guidelines, which allegedly permitted terror-related content.
According to the Arab News/YouGov poll, more than six in 10 Americans are aware of Al Jazeera — but many of those have negative perceptions of it. Half believe that Al Jazeera has a negative influence of the US image abroad. A majority of those with an opinion on the matter also believe the network gives a platform to terror groups linked to Osama bin Laden — with 44 percent agreeing with that statement, and only 18 percent saying the opposite. The rest of the US respondents — 38 percent — were unsure.
When asked about their general perceptions of Qatar, the poll found that 50 percent did not have enough information. Of those who did, the greatest proportion of US citizens — 34 percent — associate Qatar with accusations of terror financing, compared to just 16 percent who cited the Gulf state’s controversial hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“It is interesting to see that despite the billions spent by Qatar on various ‘soft power’ initiatives — from education to charity to international sport — the study has found that there are more Americans that associate it with supporting terror than anything else,” commented Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas.
ABOUT ARAB NEWS
Established in 1975, Arab News is the Middle East’s leading English-language daily. Based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the newspaper is renowned for providing the Arab perspective on international affairs via its network of reporters, opinion writers and analysts. It is considered the newspaper of record on major Arab affairs for a large number of global media outlets, governments and academic institutions. It can be read online at www.arabnews.com
YouGov is one of the world’s leading market research companies, with offices throughout Europe, the US, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. With our global online panel, suite of syndicated products, and full spectrum of custom research solutions, we offer businesses a more accurate, more actionable portrait of what the world thinks.
Antonia Stockwell, YouGov –
Ben Flanagan, Arab News –
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
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