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Public opinion in the United Arab Emirates

English | العربية

Yasir Al-Muqbel

Senior Non-Resident Fellow -Pubic Opinion Studies

Tag: UAE Dubai
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There is no doubt that the measure of public opinion and identifying the trends for modern life needs is one of the vital tools countries use to build and implement strategies. Public opinion has evolved in the United Arab Emirates, originating from the Council (traditionally referred to as Al Majlis); Al Majlis played (and continues to play) an important role in public policy and aids in the measure of tendencies and trends in public opinion. The size of the UAE’s community has grown, and hence the need for new means of measuring public opinion emerges.
During his speech on the occasion of the UAE’s 34th  National Day, the president His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, may ALLAH protect him, addressed the active role of the country’s Federal  National Council : “We will work towards increasing the council’s capacity and effectiveness, bringing it closer to the issues of the nation and the citizens, based on which the values of true participation and the approach of ‘Shura’ will take root).
Indeed, the UAE held its first parliamentary elections in 2006, followed by a second round in 2011. Preparations are currently underway the upcoming elections in October 2015. The election of representatives of UAE nationals, the questions posed, the discussions of various laws and issues of relevance and interest to the UAE society, are all forms of public opinion that are representative group the society at large. The process is also a form of participation in decision making, in a mechanism that  that ensures public opinion is in line with the general  trends.

The monitoring of the Federal National Council's activities can help build an indication of public opinion. Measuring public opinion is achieved through surveys and interviews, content analysis, media  monitoring with content analysis of what is published and the comments on the published contents. This can  identify trends of public opinion and the tendencies of society faster than other methods used in the measurement of public opinion.
On the other hand, public opinion in the UAE has the role of regulating and monitoring the community. The strength of public opinion stems in keeping the societal ideals and moral values prevailing as a 'supervisor' on the society and its members from any actions outside the scope of the ordinary or against society's values.

Finally, even though the evolution of a public opinion industry reflects the development of society, it is crucial that the industry is judged on outcomes of public opinion measurement . In other words, the  impact on the development of effective public policy in a manner that benefits society and increases the levels of life satisfaction. 

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