WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Egyptians' opposition to U.S. economic aid continued to climb in early 2012. More than eight in 10 Egyptians in February said they opposed U.S. economic aid, up 11 percentage points since December and up 30 points since April 2011 when Gallup first posed the question.
Egyptians' attitudes about U.S. economic aid, as well as U.S. money to Egyptian-based civil society groups, soured at the same time that American and European nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) employees faced charges of illegally accepting foreign funds and stirring unrest. While from Washington's perspective tensions between Egypt and the U.S. may have appeared to ease somewhat, as Egypt allowed six of the American NGO workers to leave the country in early March, public frustration with this development has continued to be a major component of public discourse across the country. In fact, Egypt's Speaker of Parliament, Saad Al-Katatni, has called for an investigation into how the decision to remove a travel ban on several foreign NGO workers implicated in the standoff was issued.
At the time of the survey in February, a large majority of Egyptians (85%) said they opposed U.S. money sent to Egyptian civil society groups, up from 74% in late 2011.
Attitudes about assistance from international institutions such as the World Bank and fellow Arab governments also illustrate Egyptians' increasing general distrust of foreign money, regardless of the source. A majority of Egyptians now oppose aid from international organizations.
Egyptians' approval of aid from other Arab governments is also waning. For the first time since former president Hosni Mubarak's resignation, fewer than six in 10 Egyptians say they favor economic aid from fellow Arab governments in the region.
The recent public discourse about U.S. aid and its influence over Egyptian foreign and domestic policy has focused on accusations lodged against the activities of some foreign-funded groups in the country. The murky circumstances and arrangements that resulted in the prosecution, travel limitations, and then sudden departure of U.S. citizens facing trial in Egypt has only inflamed Egyptians' sense of distrust and suspicion regarding such organizations and what U.S. funds mean for Egyptian sovereignty.
Previous Gallup research has revealed that strong opposition regarding U.S. money sent to political groups in the country is consistent among respondents who see the U.S. as a political model for Egypt's transition to democracy and those who do not. Egyptians', however, are becoming increasingly opposed to aid not only from the U.S., but also from international organizations and Arab governments. While several oil-producing nations in the region had promised funds to help Egypt's economic recovery, Egyptian Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri has recently chided Gulf and Western countries for failing to live up to their promises after Mubarak's resignation.
Souring attitudes on aid from international organizations may be the result of potential U.S. support for an Egypt International Monetary Fund (IMF) package U.S. officials used as a bargaining chip during the U.S.-NGO political standoff that lasted for weeks. Additionally, budget deficit cuts laid out as a precondition for a $3.2 billion accord by the IMF to the country have also come at a time when sensitivities on sovereignty and Egyptian independence in policymaking are at a premium. The more effectively Egypt's interim executive leaders and the parliament can demonstrate that such aid does not come at the cost of Egypt's sovereignty, the easier it will be for the country's leaders to find sufficient sources of funds to overcome the looming economic constraints in the country.
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Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, and conducted in Jan. 31-Feb 7, 2012, 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. 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 ±3.1 to ±3.5 percentage points.
For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.