WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Before violence and political turmoil threw the first round of Egypt's parliamentary elections into doubt, Gallup surveys in September showed most Egyptians planned to vote (74%) and expected the elections to be fair and honest (71%).
The first round of voting to elect a new parliament after President Hosni Mubarak's overthrow is scheduled to begin Monday across Egypt. Deadly clashes between security forces and protesters and the interim civilian government's resignation have left many questions hanging over the future of Egypt's parliamentary elections. Many view Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's resignation as a step that plunges the country into a deeper political crisis than previously recognized. Yet others view the current standoff as a long-awaited breaking point between the military council currently ruling the country and calls for increased freedoms and a speedier transition process to a civilian rule since Mubarak's ouster.
Now that the future of these elections seems to be in question, it is unclear how most Egyptians would react to a delay in the electoral timetable.
Many Egyptians are clear about the makeup of the parliament they do not want to see emerge from the country's three-stage parliamentary electoral process. About half of Egyptians say a parliament in which the Muslim Brotherhood holds a strong, influential position would be a bad thing for the country, while less than one-fourth say it would be a good thing.
Renewed clashes between protesters and state security forces in the past week have raised fears that the resignation of Egypt's transitional government could derail the country's first round of parliamentary elections and ultimately its transition to democracy. More established political parties, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, insist on going forward with the planned elections. Yet less established political groups and protesters have called for their cancellation and the resignation of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces. This stark difference in outlook on the path for Egypt's transition may set the stage for a major political rift among forces that were once united in demanding Mubarak's overthrow.
In just a week's time, Egypt's transition has gone from quiet concern over transparency and security for the coming elections to major protests demanding significant deviations from the country's planned handover to civilian rule. On Tuesday, Egypt's military chief announced the presidential elections would take place in July 2012 -- a year earlier than planned.
The coming days and events are not only crucial for Egypt's transition, but could also affect the trajectory of the "Arab Awakening" as a whole. Egyptians' widespread interest in voting in September suggests the protesters' call to cancel the elections could result in widespread divisions among Egyptians on how to proceed with the country's transition.
Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,049 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted Sept. 16-23, 2011, in Egypt. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3.4 percentage points. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
For complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.
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