May 22, 2014

Key takeaways from our Egypt survey

It’s been nearly a year since former Egyptian president and Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Morsi, was removed from power by the country’s military, following huge demonstrations in Cairo and throughout the nation. On May 26-27, presidential elections will be held in Egypt, whose fairness has already been questioned and which will almost certainly result in victory for Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the former general who led the military takeover. As a new Pew Research Center survey highlights, most Egyptians still favor Morsi’s ouster, but the public mood is grim, and Sisi’s support is limited.

1Egypt's Satisfiaction with Direction of CountryEgyptians are about as unhappy with the direction of their country as they were back in spring 2010, less than a year before the revolution that toppled then President Hosni Mubarak, following 18 days of protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Today, 72% of Egyptians are dissatisfied with the country’s direction, while just 24% are satisfied. 

2Morsi-SisiA slim majority (54%) of Egyptians have a positive opinion of Sisi, and the same percentage say they favor last July’s military takeover that dislodged President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from power. These slender majorities may be lower than some expected, given that media reports from Egypt over the last year have often emphasized Sisi’s popularity and broad support for the takeover.

3MBThe Muslim Brotherhood’s ratings are down – but a substantial minority still like them. Three-in-four Egyptians had a favorable opinion of the Muslim Brotherhood back in 2011, in the months after Mubarak’s ouster, but in the current poll just 38% hold this view. Once again, this is a higher number than some might anticipate, given that over the last year the new government has banned the group and labeled it a terrorist organization.

4Roughly six-in-ten (59%) say democracy is preferable to other types of government, although this is down slightly from 66% last year. Most also continue to say it is important to live in a country with specific democratic rights and institutions, such as a fair judicial system, a free press and freedom of speech.

5Egypt, Democracy, StabilityWhen asked about the tradeoff between democracy and stability, 54% of Egyptians say that having a stable government is more important, even if there is a risk it won’t be fully democratic. Only 44% think having a democratic government is more important. This is a shift from previous surveys, when Egyptians placed a greater priority on democracy than stability.

Topics: Middle East and North Africa, World Elections

  1. Photo of Richard Wike

    is director of global attitudes research at Pew Research Center.


  1. AbdelRahman3 years ago

    Can you give information about sample size ?
    How samples are picked ?

    Just to verify this statistics

    1. Andrea Caumont3 years ago

      Hello, you can see the survey methodology here:…

  2. ash3 years ago

    I believe that adding an option within your questions about those who neither support the current gov nor the previous one would have added more insight. For example , how would sabahy supporters answered these question?

  3. Tootous Shabka3 years ago

    I read the larger study and the methodology explanation. They only surveyed 1,000 people and they must have worked in a poor area because of how they stated the income break down was classified:

    Low-income respondents report a monthly household income of 749 Egyptian pounds or less, middle-income respondents report an income between 750 to 1749 Egyptian pounds per month, and high-income respondents report earning 1750 Egyptian pounds or more per month.

    There is no way that someone having an income of 1750 LE per month is even close to “high-income”. In reality, Egyptians don’t even hit the low end of middle class until income reaches 3000 LE. Our family makes a bit more than that, and there is no way we are even close to being affluent, we just barely scrap by.

    On the method page it states: “The primary sampling units were administrative districts” (which explain the incomes), so mostly people in the bureaucracy took part.
    I don’t think this study truly has the broad spectrum of Egyptians it needs to be accurate.

  4. Muhammad Rushdi3 years ago

    The poll should take the fear factor into consideration! While the Egyptians are experiencing unprecedented rates of death, injury, and unwarranted arrest under the current military rule, I don’t think most of them will be willing to express their opinions freely. How was the poll conducted? In-person, phone, or email interviews? Whatever the methods were, I expect that ordinary citizens would believe that their identities would be revealed so they would prefer to conceal any negative attitudes regarding the current military regime. This is why I feel suspicious about the conclusions that a slight majority has a positive opinion of Sisi, an approval for Morsi’s ouster, a negative opinion of Muslim Brotherhood, and lower enthusiasm for democracy. Indeed, the last rounds of free and democratic elections in Egypt (From March 2011 till December 2012) just show the opposite: voter turnout reached historically high rates, and the Muslim Brotherhood candidates typically defeated their opponents in all parliamentary and presidential elections. I am sure if the Egyptians were allowed one day of freedom from the military rule, the poll results would be much different!

  5. Ali3 years ago

    I am Egyptian and those numbers make no sense. The polled sample must have been in mostly Muslim Brotherhood neighborhoods in the South. Living in Cairo I can tell you this makes no sense. Also the initial polling from the expats (record number of voters and huge support for Sisi prove this is poll is simply inaccurate).

    1. Abdu3 years ago

      I’m from Masr el gededa and I’m telling you that I wish that Morsi was not to be removed. The system they are using is called a poll, it’s well respected everywhere in the world. Also don’t forget that as we Egyptians know our self, a lot of us tend to go with the flow just to get by. Lastly don’t forget that anyone apposes the current regime gets arrested so that may cause people to fake their opinion so they won’t get arrested. If I were you I’d take the results, it’s highly in your favor.

    2. Rasha3 years ago

      And I also live in Cairo and this makes pretty much sense to me. I see this objective, representative and to the point. It’s actually the best I’ve seen so far.