The International Republican Institute (IRI) together with Dr. Nader Said, a public opinion research expert and sociologist who heads the Arab World Research and Development (AWRAD) center, hosted a survey research conference in September in Rabat, Morocco.  The conference was a part of IRI’s larger effort in Morocco which uses survey research to help political parties target their outreach, build support among voters and focus reforms on the issues of concern to citizens.

More than 130 representatives of Morocco’s political parties participated in the conference, including members of parliament, political bureau members and other senior party leaders.  Women comprised nearly half of the participants, a notable point in the Arab world.  

Said presented the findings of an extensive research project conducted by IRI and AWRAD which included 468 political party members and activists in a series of focus groups held in Casablanca, Marrakech and Fes.  The project looked at the level of the cohesion, organization and internal democratic practices of the participating Moroccan political parties at the grassroots level.  

In addition to presenting his findings, Said spoke about the importance of survey research in general, and outlined the relationship of public opinion research with representative democracy, party campaigning, and successful constituent representation.   He also gave an overview of IRI’s research as it applied to political party capacity building, internal party structures and membership tracking and recruitment.   

Following the multi-party conference, IRI held individual consultations with the leadership of participating parties.  The data and party-specific recommendations produced by Said’s research in Morocco are particularly valuable as they have resulted from direct feedback of the parties’ own supporters, who have shown an eagerness to implement the recommendations.  The data from this project and recommendations made by IRI and Said will be used in ongoing work with the parties, particularly to improve membership tracking and targeted recruitment efforts.

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