Friday, June 23, 2006

bin Laden's ratings collapse

Pascal Riche has pulled together five bits of encouraging news from a recent poll:
Finally Some Good News | TPMCafe

... 1) Support for Osama bin Laden is declining around the Muslim world. This is especially the case in Jordan, where just 24% express at least some confidence in bin Laden now, compared with 60% a year ago.

... 3) By lopsided margins (91% among Muslims in France; 82% in Spain; 71% in Great Britain; and 69% in Germany) Muslims in Western Europe express favorable opinions of Christians.

5) ... 86% of the French have a “favorable opinion” of Jews (77% among Americans, 45% in Spain, 1% in Jordan). And 71% of the french Muslims have a favorable opinion of Jews as well.
It would be good to know why bin Laden's support has plummeted in Jordan, but I'm guessing it was bin Laden's support for Zarqawi that did him in (rather than, for example, his lack of operational effectiveness). Zarqawi's insane hatred of the Shia, and his bombing of a Jordanian wedding party, did bin Laden no favors.

Of course it's not clear how serious or long-lived bin Laden's support for Zarqawi really was. My guess is that bin Laden did make a mistake, and the US amplified the connection. Not all propaganda is a bad thing, even if it may have been as much "emergent" as planned.

This poll is very encouraging. I was particularly struck by the universal anti-semitism among Jordanians vs. the far lower prevalence among french Muslims.

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