The Arab Barometer

The Arab Barometer is a nonpartisan research network that provides insight into the social, political, and economic attitudes and values of ordinary citizens across the Arab world. We have been conducting high quality and reliable public opinion surveys in the Middle East and North Africa since 2006. We are the largest repository of publicly available data on the views of men and women in the MENA region. Our findings give a voice to the needs and concerns of Arab publics.

Our Mission

We conduct rigorous and nationally representative public opinion surveys across the Arab world.  The data we collect give a voice to ordinary Arab citizens and allow their views to inform national conversations and policy debates. Our publicly accessible data are also a valuable resource for research that seeks not only to describe but also to explain public attitudes on important issues affecting the Middle East and North Africa.

We are non-profit and non-partisan.  Our mission is to inform and to illuminate. Our cross-national and over time research on the attitudes and values of Arab publics helps policymakers, civil society members, the media, and the public at large to better understand the needs and concerns of ordinary women and men in the MENA region.

History and Scope

The Arab Barometer gives voice to the opinions and concerns of ordinary citizens across the Arab world.  It is the first and largest project of its kind, having conducted 37 nationally representative face-to-face public opinion surveys over four waves: 2006-2009, 2010-2011, 2012-2014, and 2016-2017.

Arab Barometer surveys have been conducted one or more times in each of the following 15 countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Qatar, and Yemen.

Arab Barometer surveys are conducted in the respondent’s place of residence, and to date more than 45,000 adult men and women have been interviewed.  The interview schedule includes questions that ask, among other things, about governance and political affairs, personal and national economic circumstances, women’s rights and gender equality, religiosity and the political and societal role of religion, and international relations.

Preparations for the Arab Barometer’s fifth wave are under way.  Surveys will be conducted in 15 countries during the latter half of 2018 and the first half of 2019.

Our Organizational Structure

The Arab Barometer is directed by a Steering Committee.  Members of the committee include the leaders of regional hubs at four institutions in the Middle East and North Africa: The Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan in Amman, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, the Social and Economic Survey Research Institute at Qatar University in Doha, and One to One for Research and Polling in Tunis.  Additionally, two of the project’s principal investigators, Amaney Jamal of Princeton University and Mark Tessler of the University of Michigan, are members of the Steering Committee.  Day-to-day operations are managed by Project Director Michael Robbins and a team of specialists based in the U.S.

With input from local in-country teams, the Arab Barometer survey instrument is designed and approved by the Steering Committee prior to each wave.  Following the conduct of each wave of surveys, the Steering Committee oversees data assessment and cleaning and ensures the quality of datasets placed in the public domain.  The Steering Committee also coordinates outreach activities and the dissemination of analyses that report important research findings.

Our Research Topics

The Arab Barometer surveys the attitudes, values, judgments, and preferences of ordinary citizens across the Arab world.  Our questions ask about a large number of topics and issues.  Prominent among these are the following:

  • political institutions, government policies, and political participation
  • personal religiosity, the political role of religion, and the interpretation of Islamic codes
  • women’s status and gender issues
  • personal and national economic circumstances, both present-day and expectations about the future
  • radicalism and various regional and international actors
  • interpersonal trust, political trust, and personal efficacy
  • media habits and consumption

The majority of the questions pertaining to these topics are asked in all of the countries surveyed in each wave. Cross-wave comparisons make it possible to assess continuity and change over time for specific countries as well as the broader MENA region.