Madiha Afzal, an economist at the University of Maryland, has conducted a fascinating public opinion survey in Pakistan. She found that uneducated women were much more likely to support the Taliban than equally uneducated men, and that while women’s support for the Taliban decreased as they became more educated, men’s increased.
So today’s puzzler is this: How do you explain these two surprising findings?
Answer to last week’s puzzler:
Last week I asked why any government would choose to warn their enemy via Twitter, as the Netanyahu government did during the recent fighting in Gaza.
Whenever I see a politician making public statements I immediately ask who the intended audience is, and what information the politician is attempting to communicate. The next question: is the politician up for re-election any time soon? In this case, Taylor Marvin makes a very good point about the intended audience of IDF tweets warning of imminent attacks on Hamas targets. If the IDF was intending to communicate solely with Hamas and Palestinians living in Gaza, why would it post in English? The fact that some tweets were in English tells us that the intended audience was, as Taylor pointed out, likely the outside world. But Boaz Atzili points to a second audience: Netanyahu was facing a tough election and, therefore, would be looking for ways to communicate with undecided voters. My guess is that Netanyahu wanted to signal to his American audience that he was somewhat compassionate — he would give his enemy a head start running for cover — but more importantly wanted to signal to potential voters that he was strong against Hamas, but not entirely merciless. The question then becomes, why not simply post the tweets in Hebrew? That, I believe, would be too obvious. Had the IDF tweeted in Hebrew, potential voters would have known that they were the intended audience (and not Hamas), and this knowledge would have undercut the message Netanhayu wanted to send.
Thanks all for the excellent comments.