Clint Watts over at Selected Wisdom conducted a voluntary (self-selected) response poll shortly after bin Laden's death asking about likely consequences. He put up the first of the results yesterday:

Here is a graphic representation of the results.  The bottom scale represents the total number of votes for each responses.

Here’s a graphic representation of the four largest groups broken down by percentages for each choice  (Sum of the %’s of each group across all categories equals 100%).   Interesting initial findings in these results are:

  1. Government respondents chose “Status Quo” less than any other group.  Additionally, government respondents were more evenly distributed across all answer choices than any other group.
  2. Academic respondents were highly clustered around “Status Quo” and “Zawahiri takes control of AQ”
  3. Students appear strongly aware of AQAP’s rise.  This may be indicative of how they get their information (Only a hypothesis at this point).
  4. Private sector respondents chose “AQ directed plots increase” at a much higher rate than all other groups.  Private sector voters also selected “AQ fundraising will decrease” at double the rate of any other group.

Tomorrow, I’ll post additional representations of this data.

The first thing that jumped out at me is that "AQ Central plots increase" had NO votes from academics, but was one of the top three responses for the private sector. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt here and say that private sector folks actually believe this and aren't giving poll results along lines that will keep them employed--and maybe their beliefs on this question are why they self-selected into the private sector anyway.

When I took the poll it seemed obvious to me that Zawahiri would take control of AQ at least temporarily, since he's their #2 (whether he can keep the group united or not is an entirely different matter). However, there was little difference in my mind between this answer and "status quo"--in fact there were a lot of answers that fit with my belief about the most probable outcome. But Clint's a pro so I'm sure he had reasons for asking the questions the way he did--and there's a lot more good stuff here that he will be expounding on in the coming days, so stay tuned over at his blog.

UPDATE: First saw this on BBC Arabic last night this morning and now that it's coming from Peter Bergen, it looks like I was wrong: an Egyptian named Saif al-Adel is reportedly now leading al-Qaeda. The FBI has known about this guy for a while.