Thinking Aloud: “Five Years After the Cairo Speech”: Egypt

June 9, 2014 by Darius 

[Last week, pollster James Zogby of the Arab-American Institute and Zogby International released a new poll: “Five Years After the Cairo Speech: How Arabs View President Obama and America.”  I attended the poll’s launch event; some of the findings were quite striking.  Yesterday, I covered how Arabs feel about the US and Syria.  Today, I’ll deal with Egypt.]

One of the questions the poll asked was if the US was too supportive, not supportive enough, or just right in its dealings towards the three recent Egyptian governments.  Opinion in the Arab world was divided: a plurality of respondents in every country except Lebanon and the UAE felt the US was not supportive enough of the government of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi.  Lebanon and the UAE felt the US was too supportive of Morsi; none thought US support for Morsi was “just right.”

Interestingly, a plurality of Arabs in most countries surveyed (Palestine, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE) also felt that the US was not supportive enough of the interim Egyptian government after Morsi was overthrown.  Two-thirds of Lebanese respondents felt the US was too supportive of both Morsi and the government that succeeded him.  (Lebanon was the outlier on many polling questions, probably in part because although most of the Arab world is Sunni, roughly one-third of Lebanese respondents were Shia and roughly another third were Christian, consistent with Lebanese demographics.)

Where do Egyptians themselves stand?  A large majority of Egyptians polled (75%) felt the US was too supportive of the Mubarak government.  A solid majority (61%) felt the US was not supportive enough of the Morsi government.  And a slim majority (51%) feel the US is too supportive of the “current interim government” that replaced Morsi.  (Polling was conducted before Sisi assumed office.)

Also interesting was Zogby’s discussion of other Egyptian polling not part of the “Five Years After the Cairo Speech” poll.  In June 2013, amid the protests during the last month of Morsi’s government, only 36% of Egyptians surveyed were still hopeful that positive change would come from their 2011 revolution.  However, 87% of Egyptians surveyed at that time felt that a national dialogue was the best way for the country to move forward.  Although the military had nearly universally support (94%), most Egyptians (56%) opposed military intervention. Fast forward to September 2013, after the military coup, 79% of Egyptians still wanted a national dialogue, and 51% still opposed the military’s intervention.  Seen in this light, the low turnout in Egypt’s recent “election” was no surprise – Gen. Sisi’s claim of a huge popular mandate was a fiction from the beginning.  Polling data aside, Gen. Sisi was inaugurated as President Sisi earlier today.

Tomorrow I’ll bring you my final installment on Zogby’s polling on other hot-button issues in the Arab world.  Stay tuned!

[For yesterday’s post about the Arab world’s views on the US and Syria and the poll’s methodology, see]

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