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Disillusionment in Egypt Overrides the Class Divide

Disillusionment in Egypt Overrides the Class Divide

by Mohamed Younis and Ahmed Younis

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Egyptians who say they are "living comfortably" on their present income were in September as likely as those who say they are finding it "very difficult" on their present income to expect their lives to improve as a result of President Hosni Mubarak's resignation. Among those who were living comfortably, optimism about the personal effect of Mubarak's ouster dropped sharply between August and September. This reality erases the class divide Gallup found on this measure in previous surveys this year.

In Egypt, conditions for

Perceptions among those "getting by" or finding it "difficult" to get by on their present income also followed this same trend of declining optimism. Gallup documented this declining optimism before the latest round of parliamentary elections in Egypt. Since then, the country has witnessed a surge in violent clashes between protestors, some of whom demand the immediate resignation of the country's ruling military council, known as SCAF, and security forces. More than 80 have died in the clashes since October.

As a result, major political forces within the country and SCAF are now debating renewed calls for an earlier presidential election that would fast track Egypt's transition to a civilian executive power.

Yet in September, it did not appear that Egyptians' faith in the democratic process itself had been lost. A majority of Egyptians told Gallup they planned to participate in upcoming presidential elections, now tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2012, on par with what Gallup recorded throughout the year.

Plan to vote in elections in Egypt?

Egyptians' intention to vote has remained relatively stable despite a notable decline in the percentage of those who expect the election to be fair and honest, which declined to 75% in September from 91% in April. Still, despite this decline, a majority of Egyptians do expect upcoming presidential elections to be fair and honest.

Fair and honest elections in Egypt?

Initial reports suggest that the transparency of the country's parliamentary elections were a positive departure from Mubarak-era widespread voter fraud and ballot stuffing. If further validation by Egyptian and international human rights groups confirm these initial reports, this may bolster confidence in the validity of the upcoming presidential vote.


Despite the central role of class disparity in Egypt's modern economic and political challenges, wealthier Egyptians in September were for the first time as likely as their poorer counterparts to say that Mubarak's ouster will improve their lives personally. This likely has less to do with economics and more to do with a growing disillusionment with the political scene in what was a contentious campaign period leading up to parliamentary elections.

In a political environment where Islamist political groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafist al-Nour Party outperformed the expectations of many, political jockeying and rhetoric has noticeably flared in past weeks. While both Islamists blocs are competing with each other for the conservative vote, the larger Muslim Brotherhood has attempted to calm international concerns by stressing their plans to form a broad coalition of diverse political parties and ideologies. Continued clashes between protestors, some of which are growing increasingly violent in their tactics, and aggressive crackdowns by security forces have only inflamed the national discourse on how the country should proceed in its transition.

As Egyptians now look ahead to the presidential election currently scheduled for next summer, the timing of which has become a source of national debate, both political parties and the public are as divided as they have ever been since Egypt began its transition. Candidates that can help re-instill Egyptians' optimism about their lives post-Mubarak and present a platform focused on stability, security, and economic growth will likely receive the most support.

Survey Methods

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. Earlier surveys are based on face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, in Egypt. For results based on the total sample of national adults in these surveys, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error ranges from ±3.3 to ±3.5 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.

Learn more about how the Gallup World Poll works.

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