Public Opinion in Pakistan

A new poll from the Pew Global Attitudes Project offers depressing news for the West. While favorability ratings for extremist groups remain low (18% for al Qaeda and 15% for the Taliban) they are increasing (up from 9% and 10% respectively last year though down substantially from 2008). Worse, those low ratings remain as high or higher than the ratings for the United States (17%) or confidence in President Obama (8%), a point the Christian Science Monitor noted in their title on the poll (a title which is only true if ignoring the disproportionately urban sample and the 3% margin of error).

More troubling, huge majorities of Pakistanis support workplace segregation of men and women (85%), stoning adulterers (82%) and the execution of coverts away from Islam (76%). Yet positive news remains. Despite distrust of the United States, 64% want improved relations with America. And, despite support for extremist domestic laws, 80% say suicide attacks and attacks on civilians cannot be justified. Furthermore, most view extremism as less of threat than they did last year, likely because of gains made against militants in the Swat Valley.
SSDAN Office

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