The methodology behind a new Arab News/YouGov pan-Arab survey

The survey was conducted using YouGov’s online survey methodology. (AFP)
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Updated 26 October 2020

The methodology behind a new Arab News/YouGov pan-Arab survey

  • Poll aims to understand what people in the Arab world anticipate from the next US administration
  • People from 18 countries in North Africa, the Levant and GCC region took part in an online survey

RIYADH: Voters across the US will decide on Nov. 3 whether President Donald Trump will remain their leader for another four years. The White House occupant is challenged by Joe Biden, who served two terms as Barack Obama’s vice-president and has been a prominent Democrat politician since the 1970s.
As part of its continued partnership with Arab News to reveal the public’s views on current events, YouGov conducted an opinion poll in late September 2020 to gauge how Arabs across the Middle East view the 2020 US election, the candidates and their policies.
The main aim of the Arab News/YouGov pan-Arab survey is to understand what the region anticipates from a future US presidential administration.
The survey was conducted using YouGov’s online survey methodology. The respondents were picked from among YouGov’s global panel of over 8 million individuals across the world who agreed to take part in the online surveys.

An email was sent to panelists selected at random from the panel, inviting them to take part in the survey and providing a link to questions. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are based on the responses to the Arab News/YouGov pan-Arab survey.
The total sample size was 3,097 Arabic speakers, aged 18 years or above, residing across 18 Arab-speaking countries in North Africa, the Levant and the Gulf. Fieldwork was undertaken between Sept. 21 and Sept. 27
this year. The overall margin of error is ±1.761 percent. The sample was weighted as per the population distribution of all the countries covered. Weights were also added in line with regional distribution of age groups, and for equal representation of men and women.

A staggering majority were not familiar with how the US president was elected: 82 percent agreed that the candidate with the most votes across the board will win the presidential elections, omitting the Electoral College which is the ultimate decider of the presidential vote.
The survey results have been rebased, in line with accepted industry standards, to remove “Don’t Know” or “Can’t Say” answers to compare only relevant answers.
A majority of the respondents (76 percent) said they believe in the significance of the next US president and his impact on the Arab world in 2021. Regardless of who will fill the post on Inauguration Day, residents of the Arab region believe in the importance and impact the US president will have in 2021.

When asked which candidate would be better for the Arab world, most respondents (49 percent) said neither candidate would be, but Biden (40 percent) was still considered a better option than Trump (12 percent).
Analysts say this in part reflects the emotional nature with which Arabs are seeing the candidates and their potential administrations despite the facts on the ground. For, although Biden is not as well known as Trump, he is perceived more favorably perhaps because he is Trump’s opponent.

In Iraq, virus revives traumas of Daesh survivors

Updated 04 December 2020

In Iraq, virus revives traumas of Daesh survivors

BAJET KANDALA CAMP, Iraq: For half a decade, Zedan suffered recurring nightmares about militants overrunning his hometown in northern Iraq. The 21-year-old Yazidi was just starting to recover when COVID-19 revived his trauma.
Zedan had lost several relatives when Daesh stormed into Sinjar, the rugged heartland of the Yazidi religious minority in Iraq’s northwest.
The militants killed Yazidi men, took the boys as child soldiers and forced the women into sexual slavery.
Zedan and the surviving members of his family fled, finding refuge in the Bajet Kandala camp near the Syrian border where they still live today.
“We used to be farmers living a good life. Then IS (Daesh) came,” he said, wringing his hands.
In a pre-fabricated building hosting the camp’s mental health clinic, Zedan shared his traumas with Bayda Othman, a psychologist for international NGO Premiere Urgence. Zedan refers to the violence of 2014 vaguely as “the events.”
The UN says they may constitute something much more serious: Genocide.
“I started having nightmares every night. I would see men in black coming to kill us,” Zedan said, telling Othman that he had attempted suicide several times. He has been seeing her for years, learning how to cope with his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through breathing exercises that she taught him.
Earlier this year, his nightly panic attacks stopped. Finally, he could sleep again. But only for a few months.
In March, Iraq declared a nationwide lockdown to try to contain the spread of Covid-19. Zedan broke down.
“I fear that my family could catch the virus or give it to me,” he said. “It obsesses me.”
As lockdown dragged on, Zedan’s brother lost his job at a stationery shop on the edge of the camp.
“There’s no more money coming into the family now. Just thinking about it gives me a panic attack,” he said.
“The nightmares returned, and so did my desire to die.”
Out of Iraq’s 40 million citizens, one in four is mentally vulnerable, the World Health Organization says.
But the country is in dire shortage of mental health specialists, with only three per 1 million people.


The Daesh extremists killed Yazidi men, took the boys as child soldiers and forced the women into sexual slavery.

Speaking about trauma or psychological problems is widely considered taboo, and patients who spoke to AFP agreed to do so on the condition that only their first names would be used.
In camps across Iraq, which still host some 200,000 people displaced by violence, the pandemic has pushed many people with psychological problems into remission, Othman said.
“We noticed a resurgence of PTSD cases, suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts,” she told AFP.
In October, there were three attempted suicides in Bajet Kandala alone by displaced people, who said their movements outside the camp were restricted by the lockdown, or whose economic situation had deteriorated even further.
A tissue factory who fired people en masse, a potato farm that shut down, a haberdashery in growing debt: Unemployment is a common thread among Othman’s patients.
“It leads to financial problems, but also a loss of self-confidence, which rekindles trauma,” she said.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), about a quarter of Iraqis who were employed prior to lockdown have been permanently laid off.
Youth were particularly hard hit: 36 percent of 18-24 years old who had been employed were dismissed, the ILO said.
A new patient in her forties walked toward the clinic, her hair covered in a sky-blue veil.
Once settled in a faux-leather chair, Jamila revealed that she, too, feels destabilized by the pandemic.
The Yazidi survivor lives in a one-room tent with her son and four daughters. But she doesn’t feel at home.
“I have totally abandoned my children. I feel all alone even though they’re always at home. I hit them during my panic attacks — I didn’t know what else to do,” she said.
Othman tried to soothe Jamila, telling her: “Hatred is the result of untreated sadness. We take it out on relatives, especially when we feel devalued — men prey on women, and women on children.”
But the trauma is not just an issue for the displaced, specialists warn.
“With the isolation and lack of access to care, children who have lived a genocide develop difficulties as they become adults,” said Lina Villa, the head of the mental health unit at a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in northern Iraq.
“We fear suicide rates will go up in the years to come.”