July 1, 2013

Egyptian military gets higher ratings than most political parties

The Egyptian military issued an ultimatum to both President Mohamed Morsi and his opponents today, declaring that the two sides must find a resolution to the country’s political crisis in the next 48 hours or the military will impose its own “roadmap for the future.”

Since the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak two and a half years ago, the armed forces have consistently been held in high regard by the Egyptian people. In a Pew Research Center poll conducted in March, fully 73% of Egyptians said the military was having a good influence on the country, down somewhat from the 88% registered in a 2011 survey conducted a few weeks after Mubarak was pushed out of office.

Moreover, the ideological and partisan divisions that characterize Egyptian public opinion on a variety of issues are not apparent in views about the military. Among supporters of both the Salafist al-Nour party and the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), nearly eight-in-ten said the military was having a positive influence. Similarly, seven-in-ten held this view among supporters of the National Salvation Front (NSF), a more secular coalition of opposition forces.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the military’s governing body, also receives high marks. Two-in-three Egyptians (67%) had a positive view of the council.

Of course, today’s announcement could have a major impact on public opinion – it’s likely that FJP supporters will react negatively to the ultimatum – but it is clear that the military comes into this crisis with a stronger public image than many of the country’s key political players. For example, the March survey found mixed views regarding the nation’s largest political parties. About half (52%) had a favorable opinion of the FJP, while 44% expressed a negative view. Meanwhile, ratings for both the NSF (45% favorable, 52% unfavorable) and al-Nour (40% favorable, 52% unfavorable) were on balance negative.

Topics: International Governments and Institutions, Middle East and North Africa

  1. Photo of Richard Wike

    is director of global attitudes research at Pew Research Center.


  1. John3 years ago

    If you say anything negative about the egyptian military, you need to be prepared for months of torture. Hence the high approval rating

  2. none3 years ago

    This study seems flawed, and it seems that the people involved in it were not representative of egyptians, but had an overrepresentation of muslim brotherhood supporters.

    I would like pew to check their survey, against other surveys and measurements. To see why pew has declared the support for the muslim brotherhood as 52%, more than twice the 25% that it actually is in egypt.

    In opinion polls in the first few months after the 2011 revolution, the muslim brotherhood support was 12% to 17% of all egyptians.
    That seems to be the measurement of their natural support base.

    I am looking at this page:

    It rose to 12% to 39%, in august 2011, after the muslim brotherhood made false promises to opposition groups, which some egyptians who are not natural supporters, believed.
    Many of these people who believed morsi’s promises, are the ones who joined the tamarod movement, and support the revolution to remove him. Because they consider he lied to them. So their support has not stayed with him.

    In the same polls, in the few months after the 2011 revolution. Al nour had support of 3% to 8.9%. This seems to be their natural base of support.

    In the parliament elections in 2011. On the same wikipedia page. The muslim brotherhood had support of 20.2% of egyptians (some who were not natural supporters, but had supported them because of false promises. And are now against them).
    Al nour had support of 15% of egyptians.

    So each of them increased their support by only a few % each. With the muslim brotherhood support being maximum 20.2%, and al nour 15%.

    So according to the parliament votes, together the islamists have a maximum support of about 35% of all egyptians.

    13 million people voted for morsi as president in the second round of the presidential elections. But only 6 million in the first round. The 6 million were his natural supporters. the second 7 million were opponents to the former mubarak government party candidate. And they only supported morsi because they believed his promises which they were later disappointed by him breaking.
    This second 7 million people who voted for morsi in the second round are the ones leading the opposition against morsi now.

    Even if morsi had 13 million supporters, it would be only 14% of all egyptians. That meant he was never a legitimate “democratic” president because he had only 14% support of all egyptians.
    If he only has 6 million, because most of the second 7 million left him, then he has support of only 6% of egyptians.

    In a june 2013 survey.


    71% of egyptians disapprove of morsi
    27% of egyptians support morsi

    74% of egyptians disapprove of the muslim brotherhood
    26% of egyptians support the muslim brotherhood

    So 71% should support the revolution. And only 27% not support.

    Your pew survey cannot be correct. Since the muslim brotherhood support is 25% or 26% maximum in june 2013. Morsi support is 25% or 27% maximum.

    But your pew survey says 52% support the muslim brotherhood. Your numbers cannot be correct when they are so far from the 2011 opinon polls, parliament results, presidential election results, and the june 2013 opinion poll.

    Your survey is not accurate, or is not representative. There is something faulty with your methods. Or else it has been asked by muslim brotherhood supporters. Or has not been asked to a representative population of egyptians. Because your survey uniquely claims the muslim brotherhood to have 52% support, twice as much as the roughly 25% of egyptians it has in reality.

    Please investigate and check your survey. Or consider to make a new one. Which is not so inaccurate and different compared to multiple other methods of measurement such as the ones I have included in this message.


    1. Richard Wike3 years ago

      Here are a few more details about our survey in Egypt. It was conducted from March 3 to March 23, 2013 and has a margin of sampling error or ±4.3 percentage points. The sample is representative of the country’s adult population, excluding for security reasons about 2% of the population that lives in Frontier governorates. For more details, see this page:


      It is important to note that our survey in Egypt did not ask about vote choice. Instead it included questions asking respondents whether they had a favorable or unfavorable view of certain parties, institutions, and leaders.

  3. rosemary cunningham3 years ago

    I think you overlook the most important point…Egyptians have to do national service…they are the army….as so they are loved by the people ( all people, of whatever politcal persuation have family in the army)… it is considered a honour to serve one’s country…but what has transpired in recent days has seriously damaged that citizenship.

    If democracy is majority rule….and freedoms is part of that ideal, the right to demonstrate etc…why does the army now suddenly turn fire on civilians? why unseat a legitimate president?

    I would like to ask what the average Egyptian soldier thinks?

    I have lived and worked in Egypt and I know how corrupt the police are…I saw it for myself…how frightened people were of them whatever their religious or politcal beliefs….

    This is the problem….a corrupt police and justice system ….Is that not what every decent egyptian citizen wanted to see the back of? Did they not desire a reason to live and be proud of there country?

    My heart bleeds

    1. none3 years ago

      Rosemary about the shooting of muslim brotherhood supporters today.

      There are two versions of events:

      1. State version:
      Some of the muslim brotherhood supporters were violent, shooting, and throwing things, and trying to storm the barracks to get morsi out.

      2. Muslim brotherhood version:
      Muslim brotherhood supporters have been sitting peacefully for five days, without the military attacking them. And then suddenly for no reason the military shoots some people after five days of letting them sit there peacefully.

      Which do you think sounds realistic?

      And in the 1 year of morsi rule, hundreds if not thousands of anti morsi protesters had been killed, thousands injured, and many arrested for opposing morsi. The people who care about the muslim brotherhood supporters being killed, care nothing about the people killed, injured, attacked, harrassed, and arrested under morsi’s dictatorship rule.

      Muslim brotherhood think violence is the answer. If they use violence, they might kill their opponents, and if some of the muslim brotherhood supporters are killed when the people they are attacking defend themselves, then the muslim brotherhood is happy, it can use these bodies or injuries to get sympathy for it, and make itself seem a victim. When it actually is the one whose supporters are initiating the violence most times, and whose violence is killing and hurting many more anti morsi people, than pro morsi are people being hurt.