Good News: American Public Sees Democratization of Middle East as Positive for US

American Public Sees Democratization of Middle East as Positive for US
Wrld Public Opinion.org, April 11, 2011

Favors Democratization Even if Countries Become Less Friendly to US

An overwhelming majority of Americans think that it would be positive for the United States if the Middle East were to become more democratic and a solid majority would favor this happening even if this resulted in the country being more likely to oppose US policies.

These are some of the findings of a new poll conducted by the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development and the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland and directed by Shibley Telhami and Steven Kull. The poll of 802 Americans was fielded April 1-5 by Knowledge Networks.

The poll is being released in conjunction with the opening of the seventh Forum on US-Islamic World Relations being held in Washington DC April 12-14. The Forum is a joint program of the Saban Center of the Brookings Institution and the Foreign Ministry of Qatar.

Asked, "if the countries of the Middle East become more democratic," how this would be for United States "over the next few years," 65% say it would be mostly positive, while 31% say it would be mostly negative. Asked about "the long run," an even larger number--76%--say democratization would be mostly positive for the US.

A majority of 57% say that they "would want to see a country become more democratic even if this resulted in the country being more likely to oppose US policies." This number is up from 48% when PIPA asked this question in 2005.

"While some observers are worried about the potential effects of greater democratization for US interests in the Middle East, most Americans are cheering the move toward more democracy, even if this might pose some challenges for the US," comments Steven Kull, director of PIPA.
 
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