The Syrian Embassy spokesman is at pains to argue that “Syria’s policies most reflect the aspirations and demands of the Arab street.” This naturally leads to “President Assad ranking the highest among Arab heads-of-state, year in, year out.”
Syria’s own streets, where the polling he cites would not be permitted, are of course excluded. For a rare peek into what Syrians are thinking, you’ll need to consult an illicit poll that came out four months ago. It unsurprisingly shows most Syrians unhappy with deteriorating political and economic conditions, lacking confidence in the government’s ability to confront the problems, and concerned about corruption. I spent a month in Damascus studying Arabic in 2008–it doesn’t take longer than that to confirm these findings.
Maybe a serious Syrian leader would do his homework first.