Our Experts

Michael Robbins, PhD

Director and Co-Principal Investigator, Arab Barometer

Areas of Expertise: Arab public opinion, survey methodology, political Islam, democracy, governance, religion, political behavior, political parties, extremism

Available for Interviews in: English

Michael Robbins is the director and co-principal investigator of Arab Barometer. He has been a part of the project since its inception and serving as director since 2014. He has led or overseen more than 50 surveys in international contexts and is a leading expert in survey methods on ensuring data quality. His work on Arab public opinion, political Islam and political parties has been published in Comparative Political Studies, the Journal of Conflict Resolution and the Journal of Democracy. He received the American Political Science Association Aaron Wildavsky Award for the Best Dissertation in the field of Religion and Politics.

Articles, Publications, Appearances:

As Tunisia risks losing its democracy, the US takes a ‘wait and see’ approach

As Tunisia risks losing its democracy, the US is expressing concern about the country’s stability and political institutions but not taking any specific actions yet. It all depends on how things evolve in the coming days, writes Brooke Anderson. Over the weekend, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with Tunisian President Kais Saied to express his support for the…

Arab Public Opinion on International Relations: Findings from the Sixth Wave of Arab Barometer

Key Findings: Support for the U.S. has increased dramatically since 2020. President Biden’s policies are more favored than President Trump’s. Many view U.S. assistance positively and have a desire for increased support for education & infrastructure China is viewed more favorably than the U.S., but support is low for China, Inc. Saudi Arabia is more popular than Iran, but by…

Sudan’s government seems to be shifting away from Islamic law. Not everyone supports these moves.

The latest Arab Barometer surveys reveal some surprises. Last month, Nasredeen Abdulbari, Sudan’s justice minister, announced the end of bans on alcohol and apostacy, and prohibited the use of traditional corporal punishment. These moves are part of a wider effort to shift away Sudan from traditional sharia, or Islamic law, which has been the basis for law in Sudan for…

Youth in MENA: Findings from the Fifth Wave of the Arab Barometer

Key Findings: Youth economic frustration across MENA is increasing. Youth have little trust in governments, which are widely viewed as being corrupt, leading to a potential crisis of legitimacy in the region. However, views of youth differ relatively little from older generations in this regard. Youth are more likely to want to emigrate and to participate in informal politics. Arab…

What Arab Publics Think: Findings from the Fifth Wave of Arab Barometer

Key Findings from Wave 5: Half of Arabs want better ties with China while roughly four-in-ten want stronger relations with the U.S & Russia. Many want an increase in foreign aid, but are are largely indifferent to whether it comes from the E.U. or other countries. Few favor Iran while Saudi favorability has declined since 2016, leaving Turkey as the…

Tunisia At A Crossroads

Key Findings: Perceptions of economic conditions have significantly deteriorated since 2011. Trust in the government and parliament are low, but Tunisians have far more confidence in the security services and the judiciary. Nearly all Tunisians say corruption remains rampant, while fewer than half believe the government is taking steps to address the problem. Desire to emigrate is high and growing,…

Surveying the Arab World: Methodological Challenges and (Some) Solutions

This presentation outlines the methodological challenges of surveying in the Arab World, provides insights from field practice, and outlines an agenda for future methodological research and improvements. The presentation was given at the general conference of the European Consortium for Political Research, Hamburg (22 to 25 August 2018).

New Frontiers in Detecting Data Fabrication

The ability to make valid inferences in the social sciences depends on collecting reliable and accurate data. Data fabrication is an intentional deviation from the stated guidelines, instructions or sampling procedures by any member of the survey project, including interviewers, supervisors, data entry personnel, the project leaders or the principal investigator, that results in a contamination of the data.

The Total Survey Error Paradigm and Challenges to its Application in the Arab World

This presentation plots the challenges of the survey methodology in the Arab World against the well-established Total Survey Error Paradigm. It identifies areas which are not or no longer considered in Western survey methodology, describes practical problems and provides insights on how to tackles these. This presentation was given at the International Total Survey Error Workshop, Durham (2 – 6…

Youth, Religion and Democracy After the Arab Uprisings: Evidence from the Arab Barometer

This article compares the changes over time in attitudes of youth in Egypt and Tunisia, two countries that experienced dramatic political changes in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings. The primary comparison is the change in attitudes over time within each country; views of youths just after the respective revolutions are compared with views of a similar cohort two years…