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Old 09-06-2012   #1
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Default Results of "One Year After Bin Laden" Poll

All,

Thanks for taking the time to participate in the "One Year After Bin Laden" poll initiated on May 2, 2012. I appreciate your support in this third crowdsourcing experiment, and I wanted to post the first tabulated results I've completed. About once per week, over the next several weeks, I'll post the results of your contributions in hopes that we can all learn about the direction of terrorism and al Qaeda a year after the death of its founder. Here is the breakdown of participants in the poll, and beginning tomorrow, I'll start posting the results of each question broken down by the different groups (academic, professional, domestic, international, etc.) Again, thanks for your support and I hope you find the results to be worth the effort you put into the survey.

Best Wishes,

Clint Watts

Here's Result #1 from the "One Year After Bin Laden" Poll:

"On May 2, 2012, I launched the “One Year After Bin Laden” poll asking readers to assess what the effect has been of Bin Laden’s death on al Qaeda and international terrorism. This survey was the first annual follow up to the “AQ Strategy 2011-2012″ and “Post UBL Survey” conducted immediately before and immediately after Bin Laden’s death on May 2, 2011. Note, this year’s crowdsourcing experiment asked the crowd to assess the outcomes of the collective forecasts made by several hundred respondents in 2011. The questions for this year’s survey were direct followups to the questions asked one year earlier.

Thanks to all those that took the time to complete the “1 Year After Bin Laden” survey. Your collective contributions resulted in 274 participants answering some portion of the survey and roughly 185 respondents completing all of the questions.

This post provides a summary of the responses to demographic questions posed during the conduct of the “1 Year After Bin Laden” survey. This post mirrors the demographic roll up generated during the 2011 surveys in order to compare the makeup of this year’s (2012) crowd to the sample queried last year (2011). For a comparison to the initial crowdsourcing forecast, see this post from May 10, 2011 (AQ Strategy 2011-2012 & Post UBL Poll Overview).

Here are graphs (see link) showing the professional, education and academic focus of respondents to the survey. Here’s some comparisons to last year’s respondents.

Again, the respondents have a high level of education with more than half having a MA or higher degree. In fact, the distribution of education attainment in the 2012 sample almost matches the 2011 sample exactly.

The professional makeup of the 2012 respondents is quite similar to the 2011 respondents. This year has fewer students and military respondents, but slightly more academia and government contractor respondents.

The academic focus of respondent’s degrees in the 2012 sample again almost matches the distribution of degrees from the 2011 sample.

The distribution of the demographic samples is quite similar between 2011 and 2012. Thus, it should be quite interesting to see which academic and professional groups have changed their minds since their collective forecasts immediately following Bin Laden’s death.

For charts and graphs displaying the results, see this link:http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=740
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Old 09-24-2012   #2
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Default Crowd says "AQ Plots Decreased" - 1 Year After Bin Laden

All,


Again, thanks for voting and here's the results of the second tabulation of the "1 Year Post Bin Laden" Poll. For the full writeup and charts see this link at Selected Wisdom: http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=760

In this second published result of the "1 Year After Bin Laden" Poll, I decided to focus on a question that is somewhat relevant to the current debate in the media following recent events in Libya.

On May 2, 2011, several hundred respondents answered a question with regards to what would be the "Chief Consequence of Bin Laden's death?".

Two of the potential responses provided for what might happen in the wake of Bin Laden's death were:

--"AQ Central plots against the U.S. and its allies increase substantially" - of which 12 votes were cast (4th highest response) and more than 20% of Private Sector voters and a little more than 5% of government voters selected.

---"AQ Central plots against the U.S. and its allies decrease substantially" - of which 7 votes were cast from a mix of professional backgrounds.
To examine the efficacy of the crowdsourcing prediction generated on May 2, 2011, I did an assessment with the "1 Year Post Bin Laden" poll executed on May 2, 2012 asking:

"Since Usama Bin Laden's death, have al Qaeda Central directed plots against the U.S. and its allies increased or decreased?"

In total, 206 people answered this question and the majority of respondents (71%) stated that al Qaeda Central plots against the U.S. had decreased over the past year.

Here are the results in a chart broken down by professional groups. Below this chart is the breakdown of votes per demographic group and percentage of each. Note, each professional group depicted in the first chart has a different number of total votes. For example, there were 30 ‘Private Sector’ voters but only 4 ‘Media and Journalism’ voters so the percentages in the chart will fluctuate greatly with each vote in those professional groups with low cell counts.

For professional groups, here’s what I found to be interesting results:

--‘Government-Contractors’ and ‘Government – Non-Military’ were more likely than average to think that plots increased over the past year while ‘Government-Military’ were more likely than average to think that plots had decreased over the past year.

--‘Private Sector’ voters were less likely than average to think that plots increased over the past year, yet ‘Private Sector’ voters immediately following Bin Laden’s death were the most likely to select that ‘AQ plots will increase’.
....
After building the professional group charts, I went through and tabulated the raw vote and percentages for all demographic factors to include professional group, education level, preferred information source and residency. This produced the most interesting results. Below is a chart and I highlighted particular lines of interest in different colors. Those lines in green represent groups that were less likely than average to believe that AQ plots had increased over the past year. Those lines in yellow represent groups that were more likely than average to believe that AQ plots had increased. Overall, here is what I found interesting and I’d like to hear what readers think about these results.

--Those that prefer getting their information on al Qaeda from ‘Social Media’ and ‘Television’ were far more likely to believe AQ Central plots against the U.S. had increased since Bin Laden’s death. Meanwhile, those reading ‘Academic Publications’ and ‘Newspapers’ were less likely than average to believe AQ plots had increased after Bin Laden’s death. Assuming the crowd vote of 70% against is correct, this may suggest that social media and television create an amplification effect making every individual attack seem like many attacks. A common argument about the 9/11 attacks and cable TV news was that the constant replaying of the 9/11 attacks resulted in the public believing terrorism was more pervasive than it actually was. Viewers watching endless replays of the attacks began to subconsciously believe there were more threats than there actually were. I personally feel this same effect from social media where Twitter, Blogs and newsfeeds create circular, redundant reporting that makes it difficult to determine the severity and frequency of attacks and true strength of threats. We’ve also seen this with domestic extremism in the States. Essentially, if one looks for and reads about terror attacks all day, they’ll find a lot of threats – aka “Threat Myopia”. Likewise, I wonder if in depth research findings from academic publications and the broader perspective of newspapers has the reverse effect on the information consumer. All just theories but an interesting result form the survey data.

---Strangely, those with at least 2 years living outside the U.S. and E.U. were slightly more likely to believe that AQ plots had increased. I would have expected the reverse, but the difference is very slight and only slightly above the average of all voters.

For full charts and graphs visit: http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=760
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Old 09-29-2012   #3
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Default Crowd says "AQ Fundraising Decreased" - One Year After Bin Laden

On the day of Bin Laden’s death, May 2, 2011, two of the options provided to survey respondents of the question “What will be the chief consequence of Osama Bin Laden’s death?” related to al Qaeda’s financing. Essentially, would the terror group’s funding rise or decline with the loss of its key leader and chief financier. Here were the results of the two options in the days immediately following Bin Laden’s death:

“al Qaeda fundraising increases substantially” - only 1 ‘Government’ voter from a total of 152 responses selected this as the chief consequence.
“al Qaeda fundraising diminishes substantially” – only 6 of 152 voters selected this option with the largest professional groups being 2 each of ‘Private Sector’ and ‘Government’ voters.

For the full results of this question from 2011, see this post.

A year after Bin Laden’s death, (May 2, 2012) 209 respondents answered this question:

“Since Usama Bin Laden’s death, has al Qaeda fundraising increased of decreased?”

Overall, almost 80% of respondents said al Qaeda’s financing had decreased in the year since Bin Laden’s death while the remaining 20% believed al Qaeda’s financing had increased in the year since Bin Laden’s death. In comparison, voters, on average, were more likely to believe al Qaeda’s funding had decreased (80%) than al Qaeda’s attacks had decreased (70%). But according to the crowd, both have declined.

The following chart shows the breakdown of votes by percentage of each professional group. Again, a note of caution, some professional groups had only a small number of respondents so the percentages may appear artificially large. Below the chart is a table which breaks out the raw vote totals by demographic group. Here’s what I found interesting about the professional groups: (See this link for full charts: http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=772)

‘Government Contractors’ were more likely than ‘Military’ voters to select “fundraising increased”.

Those that did not declare their professional background and ‘Academia’ were most likely to say that al Qaeda’s funding had decreased since Bin Laden’s death.

After examining the professional groups, I broke down the responses of each group by education level, preferred information source and residency. In the last set of results (#2), the preferred information source of respondents appeared to correlate with respondents’ interpretation of an increase or decrease in al Qaeda attacks. In these results (#3), I found the following vote breakdown to be of the most interest.

For education level, those with Doctoral degrees were more inclined than other education levels to believe that al Qaeda funding had increased since Bin Laden’s death.

The comparison of residency provided the most interesting results for comparison. Those ‘born outside the U.S.’ or currently ‘residing outside the U.S.’ were the most likely to believe al Qaeda’s funding has decreased since Bin Laden’s death. Meanwhile, those individuals that have lived cumulatively outside the U.S. and E.U. for two years or more were slightly more likely than average and twice as likely as those currently residing outside the U.S. to believe al Qaeda’s fundraising has increased in the year since Bin Laden’s death. A strange paradox that I need to spend a little more time researching, but interesting nonetheless.

Here’s the full breakdown in a table. In yellow are lines that I marked as interesting for being higher than average and in green are lines I marked as interesting for being lower than average. See this link for the charts: http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=772

For the full write up and charts, see this link: http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=772

Next results will cover which AQ affiliate receives the most funding after Bin Laden's death.
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Old 10-12-2012   #4
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Default AQAP in Yemen Receiving The Money After UBL's Death - Results #4

All,

Again, thanks for participating in the Post UBL Poll. Here's the latest results from your efforts.

In my opinion, one of the most critical questions after the death of Osama Bin Laden was where would donor funding to al Qaeda go after the death of the group's leader? Last year, after Bin Laden's death, voters (40%) forecasted that Gulf donor funds would shift to AQAP in Yemen. However, an interesting contrast occurred with 'Private Sector' voters, who using their experience with business and money, noted that it may instead be "Emerging Islamist Groups in North Africa amongst the Arab Spring" that receive a boost in funding. Another interesting finding from the spring of 2011 was from the week prior to Bin Laden's death where voters believed funding would remain focused on supporting al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The implication of these two forecasts appeared clear: Bin Laden was central to drawing donor support from the Gulf. For the full results of last year's forecast, see this link.

A year later, on May 2, 2012, I asked the following question:

Since Usama Bin Laden's death, the largest portion of Gulf donor contributions to extremism have gone to:

-al Shabaab in Somalia to create an alternate safe haven for AQ
-AQ in Iraq to counter Iraq's Shia dominated government
-AQ in Pakistan & the Taliban in Afghanistan/Pakistan to sustain AQ Central
-AQAP in Yemen as a more viable group proximate to the Gulf
-AQIM to help them exploit North African insecurity
-Islamist groups vying for power amongst North African uprisings
-Other

Overall, 'AQAP in Yemen' received the most votes across the board (40%) and the majority of every professional group. After AQAP in Yemen, just under 20% of voters voters selected 'AQ in Afghanistan and Pakistan' and 'Emerging Islamist Groups in North Africa' - an interesting result that concurs with the forecasts of the 'Private Sector' voters last year. Essentially, voters thought the investment in an emerging al Qaeda affiliate was of equal value to backing the old original leaders of al Qaeda in Pakistan. Here are the results for each professional category across all groups surveyed. I went with raw vote totals for this graph and the vote totals and percentages for all demographics is below in a table.

In the following table (See website), I've totaled the votes of each demographic for each terror affiliate and percentage of votes from each demographic breakdown selecting each terror affiliate. In green I've highlighted a couple demographic breakdowns where the voting pattern is slightly different and higher with regards to 'AQAP in Yemen'.

-'Academia' was more likely than the average and more likely than other professional groups to select 'AQAP in Yemen'. 'Academia' was also less enthralled with 'Emerging Islamist Groups' than other professional groups.
-Likewise, those that chose 'Newspapers' as their primary information source also selected 'AQAP in Yemen' at a slightly higher rate than the average. This also makes me wonder if newspapers have been reporting on AQAP in Yemen more than other threats. Don't know, just a theory.
Highlighted in yellow are lines where votes were lower than average for AQAP.

Military voters selected 'AQAP in Yemen' less than any other group. In fact, 'Military' voters selected 'AQAP in Yemen', 'AQIM in Sahel' and 'AQ in AFPAK' at roughly the same rate. Maybe they know something the rest of us don't know.
For charts and graphs, see this link: http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=786
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Old 10-22-2012   #5
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Default Syrian Intervention and 'Loss Aversion' - ! Year Post Bin Laden Results #5

All,

As always, thanks for voting. Here is the 5th round of results thanks to your contributions. For the full analysis and charts see this link.

Beginning on May 2, 2012, I wanted to find out two things with regards to one question.

How supportive were voters to a Western intervention in Syria similar to the support provided to the Libyan resistance to overthrow Qaddafi?

How susceptible were voters to the bias of loss aversion? Much of the debate surrounding a Syrian intervention centers on the fear of military weapons and aid falling into the hands of al Qaeda affiliated individuals and groups. Dan Ariely describes in his books, The Upside of Irrationality and Predictably Irrational, how fear of losses can loom larger than gains thus influencing our decisions with regards to risk. Having backed militias in Afghanistan that later provided the seeds for al Qaeda, the U.S. national debate with regards to backing the Libyan rebellion and now the Syrian uprising continually echoes with fears of "What if terrorists get our weapons?" - a justifiable fear.

To test these two things with one question, I've conducted a several month long experiment here at this blog via the "1 Year After Bin Laden" poll beginning on May 2, 2012 and a series of blog posts (#1,#2,#3,#4,#5,#6) during the months of August through October. These blog posts used a variety of framing techniques designed to skew voting results with regards to 'loss aversion' testing (BTW - only @jeremyscahill - a journalist of course - called me out on my ridiculous framing of some of the questions). The experiment and results come in two parts.

Experiment iteration #1 - Last question of the "1 Year After Bin Laden" survey - May 2, 2012 through July 16, 2012

Beginning on May 2, 2012, I distributed the "1 Year After Bin Laden" survey in a variety of venues. However, there were two versions of this survey. Some respondents (90 in total) answered this question with regards to supporting Syria.

With regards to the current uprising in Syria, should the U.S. and European nations provide weapons, training and funding to the rebellion against the Assad regime if they can guarantee that 95% of all support will be gained by resistance fighters with no demonstrated connection to or ideological affinity for al Qaeda?

Some respondents (106 in total) answered this question with regards to supporting Syria - a question designed to frame the issue in terms of losses. The hypothesis being those who receive the question referencing 'loss of support to al Qaeda' would select the choice to "not support the Syrian rebellion" at a higher rate. Here's the alternate question.

With regards to the current uprising in Syria, should the U.S. and European nations provide weapons, training and funding to the rebellion against the Assad regime even if 5% of all support provided would be lost to resistance fighters with a demonstrated connection and ideological affinity for al Qaeda?

Results Experiment #1: In this first experiment, I detected no sense of loss aversion skewing respondent choices with regards to supporting the Syrian resistance. It didn't matter which question voters received, they selected "Yes" or "No" in roughly the same distribution regardless of question context. The overall balance of votes was 39% saying "Yes, we should support the rebels" and 61% saying "No, we should not support the rebels." In fact, those that received the loss aversion question were slightly more likely to select "Yes, we should support the rebels." I'll have more analysis of these results below, but here is the breakdown chart of professional group votes for the Syria support question during the months of May through July. Interesting points were:

'Academia' voters were most likely to reject the notion of supporting the Syrian resistance.
'Military' voters were more inclined to support the Syrian resistance even if some support were lost to people affiliated with al Qaeda.
See the link for charts with results of Experiment #1: http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=793

Experiment iteration #2 - Single question posted at "Selected Wisdom" - August 27, 2012 through October 18, 2012

After analyzing the results from the "1 Year After Bin Laden" poll, I wondered if question wording, structure or placement made the bias of loss aversion not emerge. Starting at the end of August, I decided to run this experiment again to look for 1) whether loss aversion was present with respondent choices and 2) if overall support for a Syrian intervention had changed since media coverage of Syria fighting became more profuse in recent months.

Through a series of blog posts on Syria and distribution of links on Twitter, several respondents (42 in total) answered this question with regards to supporting the Syrian resistance.

Should the U.S. and European nations back and resource the rebellion against the Assad regime in Syria if 95% of all support will be gained by resistance fighters with no connection to or affinity for al Qaeda?

Alternatively, some blog posts and Twitter links received answers to a different question (40 in total) with regards to their support for backing the Syrian resistance - again the hypothesis being those who receive the question referencing 'loss of support to al Qaeda' would select the choice to "not" support the Syrian rebellion at a higher rate.

Should the U.S. and European nations back and resource the rebellion against the Assad regime in Syria if 5% of all support will be lost to fighters connected to or aligned with al Qaeda?

Results Experiment #2: In the second experiment, despite significant changes in the intensity of the Syrian conflict, elapse of time, question framing, etc., I received almost the exact same results as in experiment #1. I detected no 'loss aversion' bias. Again, the overall balance of votes was 39% saying "Yes, we should support the rebels" and 61% saying "No, we should not support the rebels." A quick caveat, some of the voters to the second experiment were assuredly the same as those that voted in the first experiment. However, a significant amount were different as I used different and more dissemination platforms in the second experiment to gather an alternative sample. I'll post more cumulative analysis below, but here is a chart showing the results of experiment #2 from August 27, 2012 through October 18, 2012.

See the link for charts with results of Experiment #2:

So, what does this all mean? I have lots of theories but a definitive answer would require more experimentation. Here are some of my initial thoughts: http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=793

The crowd showed no real bias towards 'loss aversion'. Looking at the table below, across the board respondents of all demographic breakdowns were generally split at a rate of 40% for intervention ('Yes' -Votes) and 60% against intervention ('No'- Votes) with one notable exception in yellow.

I believe the resistance to 'loss aversion', assuming I properly crafted the questions, results from a highly educated audience that knows a considerable bit about counterterrorism, counterinsurgency and national security in general. Respondent knowledge of the topic helps them offset against question framing and arrive at decisions more analytically in this context. This doesn't mean that if you asked the same audience 'loss aversion' questions about the stock market, for example, that they would be equally resistant. My guess would be I along with many of the respondents would be much more prone to a 'loss aversion' bias if queried on subjects for which we have limited knowledge and less data from which to offset the fear of losses.

The 'loss aversion' question in the context of a Syrian intervention may not have worked because many I have talked to, and several respondents noted below, have a definitive ideological stance about foreign intervention of any kind. Essentially, many I talk to reference getting involved in Syria quickly retort with "we should never get involved in these foreign interventions, look what happened in Libya (Iraq, Afghanistan, fill in the blank)." Others will quickly respond with, "we intervened in Libya, so why shouldn't we help out the Syrians?" I believe individual respondent stance on foreign intervention in general overrides any bias detection injected by me through question structure. Whether its Syria or any country, respondents have a pre-determined position on interventions.

Those identifying 'Social Media' as their primary information source were more against intervention on average. Meanwhile, those that prefer 'Newspapers' seemed more balanced in their support for or against an intervention in Syria.
Those preferring 'Television' as their primary information source (a small sample) were ironically more supportive of intervention in Syria. Is this because television portrayals provide more sympathy to the opposition and relate atrocities to the viewer in a different way? No idea, but interesting.

The most interesting result is in yellow and relates to whether respondents live in and around the Washington DC metropolitan area. Those residing around the nation's capital were 20% more likely to be against a Syrian intervention than those that are currently living outside the beltway. How about that? What do folks in DC believe that the rest of the U.S. and world perceives differently?

See the link for the full results, data tables and charts. http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=793

Thanks for voting,

Clint
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Old 10-23-2012   #6
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Default Is al Qaeda recruiting increasing or decreasing? - Poll Results #6

All,

Thanks for voting and here's the latest results.

Beginning on May 2, 2012, the "1 Year Post Bin Laden" survey asked 208 respondents the following question:

Since Usama Bin Laden's death, has al Qaeda inspired recruitment around the world increased or decreased?

The assumption of this question was that Osama Bin Laden, as of the time of his death, still played a key role in inspiring young men to join al Qaeda. After aggregating all the votes, 60% of all respondents believed al Qaeda recruitment had decreased in the year since Bin Laden's death. Below are the results of the professional group breakdown.

Fairly unremarkable, roughly 60% of all groups thought al Qaeda recruitment had decreased while the remaining 40% felt al Qaeda recruitment had increased. The only real variance in the professional group breakdown came from 'Academia' where almost 70% of professors and thinktank folks seem to feel al Qaeda recruitment is down after UBL's death. The 'Academia' voters fairly consistently believe al Qaeda's in a tough spot regardless of the question - compare the 'Academia' responses here with results to questions #2, #3, #4 and #5. If I ran the same question post-Benghazi and based on current conditions in Syria, would the results be the same?

For full charts and results, see this link: http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=805

After looking at the professional groups, I broke the results down by all the demographic questions. The below table shows the results for each factor. Those results highlighted in green show groups selecting 'Decreased' higher than the overall average and those results highlighted in yellow selected 'Increased' higher than the overall average. Here are the results I found of interest.

While only 5 voters (small sample) said their primary (preferred) information source was 'Intelligence Reports', 80% of these respondents believed al Qaeda recruitment decreased since UBL's death.

Those preferring 'Social Media', again, appear to still be quite worried about al Qaeda. 'Social Media' respondents were far more likely than average to believe al Qaeda recruitment has increased since UBL's death.
Lastly, those born outside the U.S. also selected 'Decreased' at a higher rate than average. The rate was only 10% higher than normal and I'm thinking its just a coincidence, but who knows.

For full charts and results, see this link: http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=805
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Old 11-21-2012   #7
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Default For al Qaeda, more 'Unity' or 'Competition' one year after Bin Laden? Results #8

On May 2, 2012, the "1 Year After Bin Laden" survey asked the following question:

Since Usama Bin Laden's death, has there been more ...?

-Conflict and competition between al Qaeda leaders and affiliates over strategic direction, or

-Unity between al Qaeda leaders and affiliates seeking to exploit recent uprisings


I found this question particularly interesting in light of the recent debate over the Benghazi attacks. Some have asserted the attacks were the work of "al Qaeda". Other reports suggest the death of U.S. Ambassador Stevens as the work of an "al Qaeda affiliate". Yet others say the Consulate attack came from an emerging local militant group "Ansar al Sharia".

If one were to believe the attack were the work of a centrally directed al Qaeda, then I would assume there would be more unity between al Qaeda leaders than conflict. Likewise, a sense of unity in terms of central direction may mesh with an AQIM link to the Benghazi Consulate attack. However, the notion of unity appears undermined by the recent revelations that Ansar al Din maybe breaking with AQIM, while the MNLA also takes its own course in the Sahel. Meanwhile, General Ham, the U.S. AFRICOM commander, has noted that AQIM has become a central node for coordination with Boko Haram in Nigeria. It appears there are linkages between AQAP and al Shabaab in the Horn of Africa. But for AQAP in Yemen, seen by many as being the strongest AQ affiliate, are they really coordinating their operations with AQIM, AQ in Iraq or jihadi groups amongst the Syrian uprising? Probably not. And what about Zawahiri? It appears the crowd doesn't believe he is in charge of al Qaeda globally the way Bin Laden was. So which is it, more "Unity" or "Conflict" amongst AQ members after the death of Bin Laden?

In total, 197 respondents cast their opinions on this question and the vast majority believe al Qaeda's members are more in conflict (77%) than in unity (23%) after the death of their founder. The below graph shows the breakout of raw votes by professional group. Most all professional groups voted in roughly the same proportions as the total. However, military voters were more likely than other large sample size groups to believe AQ was showing 'unity' after Bin Laden's death. Meanwhile, 'Private Sector' voters were the least likely to believe AQ is cohesive - across most all questions 'Private Sector' voters appear to believe AQ is in a state of disarray.

For charts and graphs, see this link: http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=825
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Old 12-18-2012   #8
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Default 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?

See chart at this link: http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=844

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.

See more charts at this link: http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=844
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Old 01-04-2013   #9
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Default Is al Qaeda 'Stronger' or 'Weaker' after Bin Laden? Poll Results #11

The relative strength of al Qaeda remains a point of constant debate - a debate that grows more complicated each year as the definition of al Qaeda becomes ever more amorphous. Earlier this week, I kicked off 2013 with a quick survey question asking readers whether they believe al Qaeda is 'stronger' or 'weaker' as compared to the time of Bin Laden's death. I'll post the results of the 24 hours of responses here below. But first, I wanted to show the results of this same question when asked on the first anniversary of Bin Laden's death.

Starting on May 2, 2012 through July 2012, 197 people answered the following question.

One year after the death of Bin Laden, do you believe al Qaeda as a terrorist organization is 'stronger' or 'weaker'? (Use an definition of 'stronger' or 'weaker' that you prefer)

Of the 197 votes cast, just over 75% of respondents thought al Qaeda was 'weaker' a year after the death of its founder. Interesting! The first chart here shows the percentage of each professional group choosing 'stronger' (blue) or 'weaker' (red). Here are some results that I found interesting.

--Government Contractors were most likely to select al Qaeda is 'stronger'. Why? I'm not sure.
--'Academia', 'Private Sector' and 'Students' were all solidly of the belief that al Qaeda is 'weaker'. What are they teaching in academia and how much are students influenced by their professors? May be just a coincidence, but I do wonder.

See the this link for graphs and charts: http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=858

The following table has the results broken out by different demographic attributes. There were two results that were curious.

Those living in the DC-Baltimore corridor were more likely to say al Qaeda is 'weaker'.

Those that have lived outside the U.S. and E.U. for two years or more were slightly more likely to select al Qaeda as being 'stronger'. While the difference isn't large, I do find it curious that those most traveled were more alarmed about a 'stronger' al Qaeda. I expected those with more travel under their belt to be less likely to believe al Qaeda is 'stronger'.

See the this link for graphs and charts: http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=858

Just this week, I reissued the same question that was asked on May 2, 2012. As of January 1, 2013, is al Qaeda 'stronger' or 'weaker'? Here are the results of the respondents that voted to date (and feel free to cast your vote now if interested, I'll post an updated set of results in the coming days.)

While not a large sample, in the seven months since the first anniversary of Bin Laden's death, there have been some significant changes in opinion with more believing that al Qaeda is 'stronger' than only a few months before.

See the this link for graphs and charts: http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=858
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