Are al Qaeda affiliates getting ‘stronger’ or ‘weaker’? Poll results #9

On May 2, 2012, one year after the death of Osama Bin Laden, I asked the following question here at this blog:

Do you think the following al Qaeda (AQ) affiliates have become stronger or weaker over the past year? (Select ‘Stronger’ or ‘Weaker’ for each affiliate)

  • AQIM
  • AQ in East Africa/al Shabaab
  • AQAP in Yemen
  • AQ Central in Pakistan/Afghanistan
  • Emerging AQ affiliate in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia
  • AQ in Iraq
  • AQ in the Caucasus

In total, roughly 175 respondents answered this question between May 2, 2012 and the end of July 2012. The results of this question are really seven-fold as each al Qaeda affiliate was assessed independently. Below are the results of respondents’ collective assessments of each al Qaeda affiliate. I’ve showed an aggregated comparison of all respondent votes below in a chart. This compares the percentage of all votes for each al Qaeda affiliate.

Below this chart, I’ve compiled the votes of respondents into a table showing the break out of votes for each al Qaeda affiliate stratified across different demographic attributes.  During this past summer, respondents clearly rated AQAP in Yemen as ‘stronger’ at higher rates than any other affiliate. However, I wonder how they would rate AQAP in Yemen now, 6 months later?

AQAffiliates121612

Here are some points that I found interesting in the deeper examination of respondents’ votes across each al Qaeda affiliate.

  • AQIM

- ‘Government Non-Military’ voters and ‘Private Sector’ voters rated AQIM ‘stronger’ at lower levels then other professional groups.

- Again, those preferring ‘Social Media’ as their primary information source were the most likely to select AQIM as ‘stronger’.

  • AQ in East Africa/al Shabaab

- Again, ‘Government Non-Military’ voters were the least likely to select al Qaeda threats from the Horn of Africa as ‘stronger’. Meanwhile, ‘Private Sector’ voters switched and were more likely than most to select Shabaab as getting ‘stronger’. Is that the effect of lots of television news reports about the Shabaab merger with AQ Central during the February 2012 timeframe?

  • AQAP in Yemen

- During this survey, all groups thought AQAP was ‘stronger’. Students and Academics were most convinced that AQAP was ‘stronger’ while ‘Government Non-Military’ were the most skeptical of AQAP’s strength.

  • AQ Central in Pakistan/Afghanistan

- All groups seemed to think AQ Central was weaker a year after Bin Laden’s death. Academia is particularly down on AQ Central. But here’s where it gets weird, ‘Government Non-Military’ voters were more likely than other voters to believe that AQ Central is ‘stronger’ a year after Bin Laden’s death. The same group that was skeptical about AQIM, AQAP, and Shabaab is less skeptical about AQ Central.

- Television viewers were most likely of from information source to believe that AQ Central was ‘stronger’, although they were still less than 50% in this assessment.

  • Emerging AQ affiliate in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia

-  Voters were most undecided about the strength of al Qaeda in North Africa. 51% thought this emerging affiliate was ‘stronger’ and 49% thought this emerging affiliate was ‘weaker’. I wonder what the vote would be if I ran this in the week after the Benghazi attacks?

- A strange breakdown of this affiliate occurs with regards to information sources. Those preferring intelligence reports and newspapers believe this affiliate is ‘weaker’ but magazine readers were more likely to say ‘stronger’.

  • AQ in Iraq

- Overall, AQ in Iraq was assessed as ‘weaker’, but academics and those with PHD’s were more likely to select AQ in Iraq as ‘stronger’ a year after Bin Laden’s death.

  • AQ in the Caucasus

- The threat of al Qaeda in the Caucasus – does anyone really know anything about this threat – appears to be ‘weaker’ based on all votes, but social media watchers were the group most likely to select ‘stronger’.

Here are the breakdown charts by demographic group for each AQ affiliate assessed by voters.

Screen Shot 2012-12-17 at 7.21.20 AM Screen Shot 2012-12-17 at 7.21.02 AM Screen Shot 2012-12-17 at 7.20.39 AM Screen Shot 2012-12-17 at 7.20.17 AM Screen Shot 2012-12-17 at 7.20.01 AM Screen Shot 2012-12-17 at 7.19.26 AM Screen Shot 2012-12-17 at 7.18.08 AM

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