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A new poll of Egyptians shows low support for Brotherhood


The Washington Institute has released a poll (pdf) it conducted of Egyptians during the uprising. Some key findings:

This is not an Islamic uprising. The Muslim Brotherhood is approved by just 15 percent of Egyptians -- and its leaders get barely 1 percent of the vote in a presidential straw poll. Asked to pick national priorities, only 12 percent of Egyptians choose sharia (Islamic law) over Egypt's regional leadership, democracy, or economic development. And, when asked to explain the uprising, the issues of economic conditions, corruption, and unemployment (around 30 percent each) far outpace the concern that "the regime is not Islamic enough" (only 7 percent).

Surprisingly, when asked two different ways about the peace treaty with Israel, more support it (37 percent) than oppose it (27 percent) -- although around a third say they "don't know" or refuse to answer this question. Only 18 percent of Egyptians approve either Hamas or Iran. And a mere 5 percent say the uprising occurred because their government is "too pro-Israel."...

As for Egyptian views of America, a narrow plurality (36 percent vs. 27 percent) say Egypt should have good relations with the United States. And only a small minority (8 percent) say the current uprising is against a "too pro-American" regime. Nevertheless, half or more of the Egyptian public disapprove of how Washington has handled this crisis so far, saying that they do not trust the United States at all.

While the poll gives us reason to believe that a lot of the fear about "Tehran on the Nile" is likely overheated, there are foreign policy responses that are less encouraging (from Washington and Israel's perspective). When asked about Egyptian foreign policy, 19 said their first choice would be to maintain Egypt's relationship with the U.S. and 'moderate states' while 18 percent said Egypt should tear up its treaty with Israel and join the 'resistance front.' A further 16 percent said Egypt should distance itself from the U.S. and follow an independent line like Turkey, while 15 percent said better relations should be restored with Syria and Iran to help contribute to resistance against imperialism and colonialism.