With two months remaining until early parliamentary elections, a new Newsweek/Daily Beast poll shows clearly and unambiguously that the political climate in Egypt is moving in a new direction that is inimical to American and allied interests—notwithstanding the billions of dollars in aid that the United States continues to provide.
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest Islamist group, is poised to win the largest share of the vote in parliamentary elections; the man who appears to have a clear shot at the presidency, Amr Moussa, has made his name criticizing Israel; and a large majority of respondents favor amending or revoking the cornerstone of regional stability, the Camp David Accords.
This poll encompassed 1,008 randomly selected Egyptian adults from 19 Egyptian governorates between June 24-July 4, 2011—it was conducted by Douglas E. Schoen LLC and Thawrastats on behalf of Newsweek/The Daily Beast, and has a margin of sampling error of +/-3.5 percent.
THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD: Parliamentary Power
An incredibly diffuse set of nascent political parties—more than a dozen registered some support in our survey—spells opportunity for the Brotherhood, whose Freedom and Justice Party scored a plurality of support (17 percent). More ominously, just 35 percent said that a Muslim Brotherhood majority would be a bad thing (27 percent said it would be good, 38 percent weren’t sure). Such results might explain the Egyptian military’s recent moves to assert its role going forward “to protect our democracy,” as one unnamed general told The Washington Post, “from the Islamists.”
29% Not sure/Undecided17% Freedom and Justice Party11% Al-Wafd Party7% National Democratic Party7% Free Egyptians Party5% Justice Party4% Free Egypt Party3% Egyptian Stream Party3% ElKarama Party2% Egyptian Labor Party2% ElGhad Party2% Tagamoe Party1% AlWasat Party1% Democratic Front7% Other
AMR MOUSSA: His Race to Lose
On paper, the Newsweek/Daily Beast survey found a close race: Former Arab League chief Amr Moussa leads the pack with the support of 16 percent of likely voters, former diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik follow with 12 percent each, and a smattering of others trail in single digits. But Moussa clearly has wider appeal: When we surveyed likely voters with just the three front-runners, the former foreign minister, who talks tough on Israel, garners 47 percent, with “Undecided” running even with the remaining two.
47% Amr Moussa19% Mohamed ElBaradei16% AbdElMonem Abul Futuh18% Not sure
16% Amr Moussa (National Democratic Party)12% Mohamed ElBaradei (National Association for Change )12% Ahmed Shafik6% Mohamed Selim El Awa5% Abdel ElMoneim Abu ElFottoh5% Field Marshel Tantawi4% Omar Soliman4% Magdy Hatata4% Hisham El-Bastawesi4% Ayman Nour (al-Ghad)2% Hamdeen Sabahi (al-Karama)27% Don’t know/Undecided
ISRAELCamp David Under Seige
The antipathy to their neighbor the north was palpable. Only 3 percent of those surveyed had a positive impression of Israel, only 2 percent said Israel cares about Egypt’s interests and a mere 1 percent said Israel had responded to the recent revolution in a positive way. This has repercussions on the linchpin of regional stability, the Camp David Accords: 70 percent want to amend or cancel them, while only 17 percent want to keep them as is.
Do you think the peace treaty with Israel should be upheld, amended, or repealed?
17% Upheld47% Amended23% Repealed13% Not sure
ARAB SPRINGLingering Resentment
Egyptians rightly feel that they overthrew Mubarak on their own, and that’s seen in their outlook on other countries: Less than one-quarter surveyed say the U.S., regional ally Saudi Arabia, media power Qatar, or regional rival Iran had the best interests of the Egyptian people in mind during the revolution. Will such sentiments be forgotten by the new government?
SAUDI ARABIAWeakened Sunni Alliance
While 52 percent of Egyptians, in the Arab world’s most populous country, say they should continue a partnership with fellow Sunni nation Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s wealthiest, just 34 percent think the Saudis have Egypt’s best interestz in mind. As for the autocratic King Abdullah, only 25 percent approve of him—far worse even than Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (32 percent).
TURKEYRegional Power Broker?
The apparent winner among Egyptians? Turkey. Among regional powers, it was viewed as having demonstrated the most support for the revolution, as well as the most concern about Egypt’s interests and the most positive effect on the world. As the Middle East shifts, Egyptians are clearly looking increasingly to Turkey for leadership.