Everyone is trying to figure out what the new Egypt will look like, with some polls painting a nightmare scenario and another one causing cheers. The dizzying contradictions in the polls capture the complexities of Egyptian opinion and can guide a strategy to limit the Muslim Brotherhood’s inevitably large gains.
First, the very, very bad news. The Egyptian people overwhelmingly support the introduction of elements of Sharia into their government. A Pew poll from 2010 registered 84% support for executing those that leave Islam, 82% support for stoning adulterers, and 77% support for whippings and cutting the hands off of those guilty of theft. A significant minority of 22 percent say that a non-democratic form of governance is sometimes the best option and only 36 percent feel a non-Muslim should be allowed to run for president. A poll by Zogby found that 65 percent felt the “clergy must play a greater role in our system.”
The foreign policy of the new Egypt will undoubtedly move in a direction more hostile to the West. Zogby found last July that America has an 85% disapproval rating and 52 percent have a negative opinion of the American people. The U.S. and Israel are viewed universally as the biggest threats. Nearly 80 percent feel it would be a good thing if Iran acquired nuclear weapons and 56 percent believe it is trying to do just that.
On February - 15 - 2011
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