Osama bin Laden's popularity, even in Islamic countries, is tanking faster than Karl Rove's or Gov. Arnold's, says a new survey of six predominantly Islamic countries conducted by the Pew Research Center. Among the findings:
In Morocco, 26 percent of the public now say they have a lot or some confidence in bin Laden, down from 49 percent in a similar poll two years ago.
In Lebanon, where both Muslims and Christians took part in the survey, only 2 percent expressed some confidence in the Saudi-born al Qaeda leader, down from 14 percent in 2003.
In Turkey, bin Laden's support has fallen to 7 percent from 15 percent in the past two years. In Indonesia, it has dropped to 35 percent from 58 percent.
What the hell does it mean to express "some confidence" in bin Laden? "I have some confidence that his kidneys will hold out long enough to blow up the Eiffel Tower"? "I have some confidence he will be able to make his scheduled appearance on The Tony Danza Show before that small-screen crime against humanity is cancelled"?
Not all the trends are as strikingly anti-bin Laden: In Pakistan, support for the pal of Bert from Sesame Street dropped a mere 6 points, from 51 percent to 45 percent (giving bin Laden about the same approval rating in that great nation as George W. Bush has in these United States). And in Jordan–aren't they our friends?–"confidence in bin Laden, who took responsibility for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and many other attacks, rose to 60 percent from 55 percent." C'mon, U.S.-born Queen Noor's book wasn't that bad, was it?
Whole Reuters account of survey here.
The Pew survey is online here. More good news: Support for suicide bombing is down in the Muslim countries polled.