Over 40 polls have been conducted over the past five years in the Middle East, and an analysis of them provides an overview of public opinion across the region that might help explain the recent outbreaks of revolution and protest. The polls were conducted by a number of organizations including Charney Research in collaboration with the International Peace Institute; the Egyptian Research and Training Center; and other leading US polling groups including Gallup, Pew, and Greenberg.
The data collected from these polls shows that most people in the region seek peaceful political reform and democracy. However, economic discontent and lack of faith in the media, the law, and the voting system have kept many from having faith in the current political system.
As for the two countries undergoing a democratic transition, recent polls showed that optimism is high, with four out of five people in Egypt and Tunisia thinking the country is headed in the right direction. People are also optimistic about the upcoming elections, with an average of 89.5% of the population planning to vote, though many are unsure of whom they will vote for.
One of the most recent polls conducted was Egypt: Towards Democratic Elections. These polls consisted of 800 face-to-face interviews in Egypt between May 30th and June 4th, 2011, and uncovered opinions of the Egyptian population pertaining to the forthcoming elections. While optimism exists, Egypt still has economic and security concerns. Many Egyptians conveyed their support for the army and judiciary, but there is still hesitation on who they will vote for in the fall elections. Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa led the race for office, ahead of Field Marshall Mohamed Tantawi and Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, but, generally, the votes seemed to be spreading out as many little-known new parties have emerged.