It’s a matter of packaging
In a poll carried out between 14 and 19 December 2011, people across the Arab world, including Syria, were asked:
In your opinion, should Syria’s President Assad resign?
55% of the Syrians polled said NO.
One could be forgiven for thinking that YouGov and the people responsible for the Doha Debates were not keen that this remarkable finding should become widely known. In their comments on the poll, both chose to emphasise the overall finding that a majority of Arabs supported President Assad’s resignation, while barely mentioning the much more important finding that a majority of the Syrian people, whose views should surely be paramount in this matter, don’t want President Assad to resign. 55% of Syrians polled believe that President Assad should not resign.
But YouGov’s 24-page report on the poll Syria’s President Assad – should he resign? has only one mention of this remarkable finding (at the bottom of page 11) – the report’s Executive Summary doesn’t mention it all. And an article on the poll on The Doha Debates website is headed Arabs want Syria’s President Assad to go – opinion poll.
I am not in a position to assess the reliability of the finding that 55% of Syrians don’t want President Assad to resign.* I would emphasise, however, that YouGov states the finding without qualification on page 11 of their report, saying:
“The vast majority of respondents (81%) want Syria‟s President Bashar Al Assad to resign. … “Respondents in Syria are more supportive of their president. 55% do not believe Assad should resign vs. 45% wanting him to leave power.”
By David Morrison
*Although the poll methodology is provided, YouGov does not cite the margin of error.[admin]