Michael Robbins

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Michael Robbins
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Alma mater
  • Georgetown University
  • University of Michigan

Michael Robbins is an American scholar of Middle Eastern politics based at Princeton University.[1] He serves as project director of Arab Barometer, which is the longest standing and largest publicly available project tracking the beliefs and attitudes of citizens living in the Middle East and North Africa.[2] Robbins earned his Bachelor's Degree in Foreign Service from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University followed by his PhD in Political Science from the University of Michigan. He received the American Political Science Association Aaron Wildavsky Award for Best Dissertation in Religion and Politics Award. He has been a research fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center[3] and a Research Associate at the Pew Research Center.[4]

Robbins specializes in public opinion and survey methods with a particular focus on the Middle East and North Africa. He has published and presented extensively on the views of Arab publics, including views of democracy, support for political Islam, trust in government, economic conditions, and youth, among other topics. Additionally, he has been a leader in improving data quality in non-Western contexts, having written extensively on means to prevent data fabrication and to detect low-quality interviews during survey fieldwork. These efforts resulted in his appointment as an author of the joint American Association for Public Opinion Research / World Association for Public Opinion Research|World Association for Public Opinion Task Force on Quality in Comparative Surveys[5] designed to set forth best practices for survey research practices.

His work and research are frequently covered by major media outlets, including the BBC World Service,[6][7] The Economist,[8] CNN,[9] CNN International,[10] Science Magazine,[11] the Times of London,[12] Der Spiegel, and the Washington Post,[13][14][15] among others, to discuss a wide range of issues relating to the Middle East and survey methodology.

Robbins is a member of the Board of Directors of the Santa Fe Opera, the Lensic Center for the Performing Arts, and Global Santa Fe.


  • What Palestinians Really Think of Hamas. (2023). Foreign Affairs.
  • Why Democracy Stalled in the Middle East. (2022). Foreign Affairs.
  • Improving data quality in face-to-face survey research. (2020). PS: Political Science & Politics.
  • Youth, Religion and Democracy After the Arab Uprisings: Evidence from the Arab Barometer. (2017). The Muslim World.
  • The ascendance of official Islams. (2017). Democracy and Security.
  • The state of social justice in the Arab world: the Arab uprisings of 2011 and beyond. (2016). Contemporary Readings in Law & Social Justice.
  • After the Arab Spring: People still want democracy. (2015). Journal of Democracy.
  • Political System Preferences of Arab Publics. (2014). In The Arab Uprisings Explained. Columbia University Press.
  • The rise of official Islam in Jordan. (2013). Politics, Religion & Ideology.
  • The effect of elections on public opinion toward democracy: Evidence from longitudinal survey research in Algeria. (2012). Comparative Political Studies.
  • New findings on Arabs and democracy. (2012). Journal of Democracy.
  • Tunisians voted for jobs, not Islam. (2011). Foreign Policy.
  • What leads some ordinary Arab men and women to approve of terrorist acts against the United States? (2007). Journal of Conflict Resolution.


  1. "Michael Robbins | Princeton Politics". politics.princeton.edu. Retrieved 2023-11-16.
  2. "About Arab Barometer – Arab Barometer". Retrieved 2023-11-16.
  3. "Research | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs". www.belfercenter.org. Retrieved 2023-11-16.
  4. Center, Pew Research (2013-04-30). "Conference Call Transcript: The World's Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. Retrieved 2023-11-16.
  5. "AAPOR/WAPOR Task Force Report on Quality in Comparative Surveys". World Association for Public Opinion Research. Retrieved 2023-11-16.
  6. "Arabs believe economy is weak under democracy". BBC News. 2022-07-06. Retrieved 2023-11-16.
  7. BBC World News: Interview with Dr. Michael Robbins on Racism in MENA, retrieved 2023-11-16
  8. "Despots are pushing the Arab world to become more secular". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2023-11-16.
  9. CNN interview: What Palestinians Really Think of Hamas, retrieved 2023-11-16
  10. Survey conducted before the Hamas terror attack showed low Palestinian support for the group | CNN, 2023-10-29, retrieved 2023-11-16
  11. "Survey fraud test sparks battle" (PDF).
  12. Expert reveals what Palestinians really think of Hamas, retrieved 2023-11-16
  13. "Yes, you can trust international surveys. Mostly". Washington Post. 2021-12-07. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2023-11-16.
  14. "Analysis | How states can wield 'official Islam' to limit radical extremism". Washington Post. 2021-12-07. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2023-11-16.
  15. "When it comes to democracy, Egyptians hate the player but Tunisians hate the game". Washington Post. 2021-12-07. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2023-11-16.

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