Arab Barometer reveal findings from major Tunisia survey

For Immediate Release

**Please credit Arab Barometer**

Arab Barometer conducted the most in-depth publicly available survey in Tunisia in 2023.

The Arab Barometer survey in Tunisia 2023 sheds light on the views of Tunisian citizens and their changing priorities, needs, and concerns in a rapidly evolving region. Between September 13th and November 4th, 2023, the research network interviewed more than 2,400 Tunisians face-to-face, about a wide range of topics including the economy, government trust and performance, international relations, gender norms and the status of women, and the environment. Due to the timing of the survey, it also sheds light on how Tunisian views changed as a result of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. The previous Arab Barometer Tunisia survey was conducted in 2021.

Key Findings from the Arab Barometer survey in Tunisia 2023 indicate that:

  • In late 2023, Tunisians remained more optimistic than they had been before the election of Saïed, but Arab Barometer’s survey suggests that some are starting to lose hope. Promises of economic improvements have not been realized—just one-in-ten say rate the economy as good, which is largely unchanged since 2013. Economic optimism has also fallen, dropping by 14 points since 2021. During this period, hunger has also increased dramatically, with two thirds of Tunisians saying they have gone without food at least once in the previous month. Moreover, the most common perception is that government mismanagement is the source of food insecurity.
  • Views of most political institutions are relatively weak. Just over a third have confidence in the government while less than a quarter trust parliament. However, confidence in President Saïed remains strong, with about three-quarters expressing confidence in their country’s leader. Still, this level is a six point decrease from 2021.
  • Despite high trust in the president, only about half rate the government’s performance positively, which is down by eight points since 2021. Satisfaction is greatest in the government’s provision of defense and basic infrastructure, but only about a third are satisfied with health care or education. Ratings of economic performance are even lower, with fewer than a quarter being satisfied with the government’s efforts on narrowing the wealth gap, creating jobs, or addressing inflation.
  • Corruption remains a major scourge, with more than 90 percent of Tunisians saying it is present in national institutions to a great or medium extent, which is effectively unchanged over the past eight years. However, there now is a far greater belief that the government is now working to tackle this problem than in the recent past. Since 2021, about two-thirds of Tunisians credit to government for addressing this problem compared with a minority of citizens who said the same in 2016 and 2019.
  • Given the problems facing ordinary Tunisians, it is unsurprising that many seek to leave their homeland. Nearly half say they have considered emigrating, particularly those who are young and are better educated. Among this group who has thought about leaving, not quite half say they have begun to make plans to make this a reality and about four-in-ten say they would consider leaving Tunisia even if they lacked the required documentation to go to another country.
  • Despite the crackdown on opposition groups, Tunisians do not believe that there has been a meaningful decrease in their political rights. Seven-in-ten say they enjoy the right to freedom of speech, which is greater than the share in 2019. Fewer say that freedom of assembly is guaranteed at 56 percent, which is a slight decrease from 2021 but more than in 2019.
  • Despite the political changes, Tunisians remain both supportive but cautious about a democracy. Eight-in-ten affirm that despite its problems, democracy is their preferred political system. However, about seven-in-ten associate democracy with poor economic outcomes, instability, and indecisiveness. In short, it remains an imperfect but desired system. However, many of the frustrations about democracy but continued support may stem from how Tunisians define democracy. Tunisians are more likely to associate it with the provision of economic necessities, equality under the law, and a lack of corruption than they are to link it with free and fair elections. In fact, Tunisians effectively do not differentiate between democracy and dignity (karama), which was a key demand of the protests in 2011 which led to the fall of the Ben Ali regime. Thus, Tunisians are likely to support a system that can deliver such results more so than they are one that simply allows them to choose their leaders in regular election.
  • In the field of international relations, the views of Tunisians have been deeply affected by the war in Gaza. Prior to October 7, 2023, four-in-ten Tunisians held a favorable view of the U.S. Just three weeks later, only 10 percent supported the U.S. Similar declines are found for U.S. allies, including a drop of 14 points for France and Saudi Arabia, respectively. By contrast, evidence suggests an increase in support for Iran over the same three-week period. By the end of fieldwork, the policies of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei were equally popular to those of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and more popular than those of Emirati President Mohammed bin Zayed. Meanwhile, Tunisians do not appear to have substantially changed their views of either China or Russia in the weeks after October 7.

Arab Barometer’s survey in Tunisia 2023 also finds:

  • Tunisians favor women’s equality in both domestic and public spheres. The vast majority affirm that women should have the same rights as men and favor quotas for women in the cabinet and parliament. However, despite these attitudes, it is clear women’s participation in the labor force still trails that of men. Tunisians see many barriers facing women, including a lack of jobs and a lack of childcare. But other factors also may play a role, including the fact that most say women face significant levels of harassment in the workplace.
  • Tunisians also express deep concerns about their natural environment and climate change. The greatest concern is over water resources, but clear majorities are worried about broad impacts from climate change including on their physical and mental health. They express significant concerns about the effect on their daily lives as well. In terms of contributors to climate change, Tunisians are most likely to see business as the problem, including both international and domestic corporations. But, most also say both governments and citizens around the world and in Tunisia also play a role. Perhaps more importantly, Tunisians affirm that businesses, governments, and citizens should all take responsibility for trying to address climate change. And, most Tunisians favor taking clear steps toward improving their environment and tackling climate change, including punishing polluters and phasing out the use of fossil fuels.

For Full Report and Graphs on findings, click here

Please credit Arab Barometer in any dissemination.



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For more information contact Aseel Alayli from the Arab Barometer’s Media and Global Communications Department at

About Arab Barometer

Arab Barometer is the leading and most influential research network on public opinion in the Middle East and North Africa. Founded in 2006, we are the longest-standing research network that conducts rigorous and nationally representative public opinion surveys in the Arab world. We disseminate the findings through analyses and reports to deepen public conversations and facilitate data-driven solutions to the pressing problems facing ordinary citizens across MENA.