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15 Feb, 2011

Polls Track Public Opinion Reactions To Events in Egypt, Tunisia

A number of opinion polls conducted by Pew Research and The Gallup Organisation tracked the shifts in the public views in the United States in response to the changing situation. Here is a compilation of the reports on the findings, as posted on the pollsters’ respective websites.

January 31

Egypt, Democracy and Islam

With massive protests threatening to upend the three-decades-long reign of President Hosni Mubarak, the world has been captivated by the events in Egypt. In a survey conducted April 12 to May 7, 2010, the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project examined the views of Egypt and six other Muslim publics about politics and the role Islam should play in it.

A 59%-majority of Muslims in Egypt believed that democracy was preferable to any other kind of government. About one-in-five (22%), however, said that in some circumstances, a non-democratic government could be preferable, and another 16% said it did not matter what kind of government is in place for a person in their situation. Read more

February 2

Egyptians’, Tunisians’ Wellbeing Plummets Despite GDP Gains

Well-being in Egypt and Tunisia decreased significantly over the past few years, even as GDP increased. In Egypt, where demonstrations have prompted President Hosni Mubarak to give up power after elections this fall, the percentage of people “thriving” fell by 18 percentage points since 2005. In Tunisia, where mass protests toppled the country’s government last month, the percentage of people Gallup classifies as thriving fell 10 points since 2008.

February 4

Historically, Americans Have Given Low Priority to Promoting Democracy Overseas

While the public likes the idea of their government promoting democracy in other nations, the objective typically lags far behind other long-term foreign policy goals. In the most recent “America’s Place in the World” survey, conducted in November 2009, just 21% said promoting democracy abroad should be a top long-range priority for U.S. foreign policy. Democracy promotion ranked last on a list of 11 long-term foreign policy objectives. The most widely shared goals — protecting the nation against terrorist attacks and protecting the jobs of American workers — were cited by 85% each.

February 7

Americans Sympathetic to Egyptian Protesters

Most Americans support the protesters who have called for a change in the government in Egypt, with 82% saying they are sympathetic to the protesters (including 42% who are very sympathetic), while 11% are unsympathetic..

February 8

Public Uncertain About Effect of Mass Protests in Egypt on the U.S.

Americans do not have a clear point of view about how the massive anti-government protests in Egypt will affect the United States. More than half (58%) say the protests will not have much of an effect (36%), or offer no response or are noncommittal (22%). Of the minority that thinks the protests will have an effect on the U.S., nearly twice as many say their impact will be negative rather than positive (28% vs. 15%).

February 8

Americans’ Views of Egypt Sharply More Negative

Americans’ opinions of Egypt have become sharply more negative, with an 18-point drop in the country’s favorable ratings — from 58% in 2010 to 40% this year. This marks the first time since the initial measurement in 1991 that more Americans have had an unfavorable than a favorable opinion of Egypt.

February 9

Young Egyptians Increasingly See Their Potential Untapped

Young people in several Arab countries became less likely in 2010 to believe their leadership fully uses their human capital. Young Egyptians’ perceptions experienced one of the largest declines: fewer than 3 in 10 15- to 29-year-olds say Egypt’s leadership maximizes youth potential, down from almost 4 in 10 in 2009. Young Egyptians have been an important force in ongoing demonstrations calling for the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.

February 9

Less than half of Americans (45%) say what happens in Egypt is vitally important to U.S.

Seven out of 10 Americans say what happens in China is vitally important to the U.S., putting China at the top of 12 countries Gallup asked Americans to rate on this dimension, significantly ahead of North Korea and Iran. Egypt is 9th on the list; 45% of Americans say what happens there is vitally important.

February 9

Egypt ranks among issues on which Obama is best rated

President Obama’s approval rating on the federal budget deficit has declined to 27% from 32% in November, as his approval ratings on all other major national issues tested have generally held steady. Obama is rated relatively well on his handling of the situation in Egypt, with 47% approving.

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