JEDDAH: Almost half the population of the Middle East and North Africa would abstain if given the right to vote in next week’s US presidential election, an opinion poll revealed Thursday. But Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton came far ahead of her Republican opponent Donald Trump as the preferred candidate to lead the United States, which plays a key role in the Arab world. Out of 3,017 people polled across 18 countries, 47 percent “would snub both Clinton and Trump, if given chance to vote,” according to the survey carried out by Saudi daily Arab News and British pollster YouGov. Among those who would vote, 44 percent said they would opt for Clinton, while only nine percent said would choose Trump, showed the results of the online survey conducted on October 14-21. “There is little enthusiasm for either candidate but 78 percent believe Clinton would be better for the Arab world if elected as president versus 22 percent for Trump,” said YouGov’s chief Stephan Shakespeare. On the conflict in Syria, 46 percent of respondents wanted Washington to put boots on the ground in the fight against the Islamic State group, while the remaining majority of 54 percent was against such a move. Meanwhile, 44 percent said the incoming US president should annul the nuclear deal with Iran. But asked about border security in their own countries and abortion, most of the participants appeared to share Trump’s tough stance. Ninety percent said they did not mind extra border restrictions if they felt their country’s security was under threat, while 89 percent said abortion is never acceptable, except in extreme cases, like rape or life-threatening situations.