Biden seen as being better for Middle East according to Arab News/YouGov poll sees 

Biden seen as being better for Middle East according to Arab News/YouGov poll sees 
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Biden seen as being better for Middle East according to Arab News/YouGov poll sees 

Biden seen as better for the Middle East, but most Arabs want him to shun Obama era policies: Arab News/YouGov poll. Majority of respondents believe both Presidential candidates would be bad for the region. Trump scores higher on Iran policies, but not on Jerusalem move. Containing Iran found to be one of the top four issues respondents want the next US President to focus on.

A landmark YouGov poll commissioned by Arab News, the Riyadh-based leading international English language daily, found that 49 percent of the Middle East and Africa (MENA) region, believe that neither candidate in the upcoming US elections will necessarily be good for the region. 

However, of the two presidential candidates, most of the remaining respondents (40 percent) said Democrat Joe Biden would be better for the MENA region when compared to the incumbent, President Donald Trump (12 percent).

The Arab News/YouGov Pan Arab poll — titled “Elections 2020: What do Arabs Want?” — surveyed a sample of 3,097 respondents captured online, to uncover how people in MENA feel about the upcoming US elections, which will be held on 3 November.

Trump Biden Debate photos courtesy of the Arab News

Trump Biden Debate photos courtesy of the Arab News

Yet, the poll is not all good news for Biden, who served as Vice President to Barack Obama between 2009 and 2017. The findings strongly suggest that if Biden does end up serving as the next President of the United States, he would be well advised to distance himself from his former boss. When asked about policies implemented in the Middle East under the Obama administration, the most popular response (53 percent) was that Obama left the region worse off, while 58 percent also wanted Biden to distance himself from Obama-era policies.

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Containing Iran was found to be one of the top four issues that respondents wanted the next US President to focus on. Notably, there was strong support for Trump both maintaining a war posture against Iran and imposing strict sanctions against the Iranian regime by survey respondents in Iraq (53 percent) and Yemen (54%) two Middle Eastern nations that have had intimate regional dealings with the Iranian state.

However, President Trump’s 2017 decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem proved overwhelmingly unpopular, with 89 percent of Arabs opposing it.

Resolving the Arab/Israeli conflict was selected as the joint top priority for the next president alongside youth empowerment. Surprisingly, in contrast to most other Arabs, Palestinian respondents inside the Palestinian Territories indicated a greater desire for the US to play a bigger role in resolving this issue.

Arab opinion was largely split on the decision to assassinate Iranian General Qassim Soleimani earlier this year, with the single largest proportion of respondents from Iraq (57 percent) and Lebanon (41 percent) seeing it as a positive move, as opposed to those in Syria (57 percent) and Qatar (62 percent) where more respondents saw it as negative.

Meanwhile, Arabs still remain overwhelmingly concerned about domestic common challenges within the region, such as failed governments (66 percent), the economic slowdown (43 percent), COVID-19 (32 percent) and Islamist terrorism (33 percent).

To view all findings go to the Arab News / YouGov Pan Arab study click here.

Ray Hanania

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