Friday, February 11, 2011 12:46 PM
In an opinion piece at Fox News, pollster Doug Schoen underscores what the data mean (via Andrew Bostom):
While very recent public opinion polling from Egypt is not currently available, a number of clear inferences about what is likely to happen can be drawn from prior surveys and prior election results.
The bottom line: there is at least a 50 percent chance, if not more, that a candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood or a party with a generally similar approach and orientation will win the next presidential election.
I draw this conclusion from a number of factors. First, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that support for the current regime is very limited to nonexistent. But the underlying structural issues present a more daunting challenge. Even before the fall of the Mubarak government, the Egyptian public was strongly aligned with fundamentalists and traditionalists, rather than modernizers who support a secular, pro-western tradition.
Put simply, Egyptians support Islam, its expanded role in the country's civic life, as well as Shariah.
A broad based analysis of Egyptian public opinion by Lisa Blaydes and Drew Linzerhow bears this conclusion out. They concluded that 60 percent of Egyptians have fundamentalist views, while just 20 percent are secular in their orientation.
Egyptians also support a more expansive role for Islam in Egyptian life. In Pew polling conducted last year, almost half (48 percent) say that Islam plays a large role in politics in Egypt, and an overwhelming majority – 85 percent – say Islam’s influence in politics is positive. Only 2 percent say its influence is negative. Not surprisingly, almost two-thirds of Egyptians told Zogby that Egyptian life would improve when clerics play a more central role in the political life of the country.
Egyptians also support the central elements of Shariah Law.
For example, 84 percent say that apostates, or those who forsake Islam, should face the death penalty and 77 percent say thieves should have their hands cut off.
A majority (54 percent) says men and women should be segregated in the workplace.
Further, the Egyptian people clearly support a political agenda that can only be described as radical. More than 7 in 10 said they were positive toward Iran getting nuclear weapons in a July 2010 Zogby Poll and close to 80 percent favor abrogating the Camp David accords wit Israel.
What was it GW Bushwah said -- Let freedom rain? Ring?
A significant number of Egyptians are favorable to terrorist organizations, with close to half favorable to Hamas and one in five favorable to Al Qaeda.
Hamas has the home field advantage, after all.
Given this data it is no shock that the only group in Egyptian society that has any broad based support is the Muslim Brotherhood. Their leader, Muhammed Badi, has not surprisingly said the Koran should be law in Egypt and that jihad was essential. He also said that Israel and Zionism have to be resisted in every way possible with every resource at the disposal of the Egyptian people.
According to the most recent data available, the Egyptian people are strongly favorable towards the Muslim Brotherhood. A study conducted in 2009 by WorldPublicOpinion.org shows that 64 percent have positive views of the Muslim Brotherhood, while just 16 percent have negative views. Nineteen percent said they have mixed views. An even larger majority, 69 percent, believes that the Muslim Brotherhood favors democracy. Just 22 percent believe they are too extreme and not genuinely democratic. ...
Secular parties have always done less well in Egypt, and the available evidence has consistently shown that there is little if any support for conventional, secular, democratic parties. And given the widespread disaffection with the current government and its performance, it is unlikely a candidate like current Vice President Omar Sulemain (who narrowly escaped an assassination attempt) and Prime Minister Safik could muster more than 10 percent to 15 percent of the vote. Nor is there any reason to believe that a candidate who runs and positions himself as a pro-western reformer, like former Foreign Minister and current Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa or a candidate with any ties or links to the military like Defense Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, would do appreciably better....
You know you're really in trouble when Amr Moussa counts as a "pro-western reformer"!