WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Prior to voting President Mohamed Morsi into power last month, Egyptians named jobs as the No. 1 issue or challenge that their government should address, regardless of which political party they supported. The general economic situation and security tied for the next most mentioned priorities. Those expressing support for the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, the Salafist-oriented Nour Party, and the relatively liberal and secular Free Egyptians Party all prioritized the same issues the same way.
The findings from a Gallup survey conducted in April highlight how Egyptians' priorities contrast with what the political focus has been in Egypt since Morsi's election. Morsi set off a battle over legislative power and rule of law by issuing a presidential decree that called the country's dissolved parliament back into session. After the Supreme Constitutional Court overturned the decision, the president appeared to back down. The issues represented in this latest political showdown between the president and the judicial branch and ruling military council, which assumed legislative authority just before the presidential runoff election, are not consistent with what Egyptians felt their government's priorities should be moving forward.
After stating their first priority, Egyptians were most likely to say that their government's second priority should be economic recovery and wage increases. The top three overall priorities remained the same among supporters of various political parties.
Egyptians clearly have reason to prioritize these issues, as they report both higher food prices and a bad job market. Nearly all Egyptians (95%) say food prices increased significantly over the past 12 months, and 88% say it is a bad time to find a job in the city or area in which they live.
While Egypt's leaders continue their tug of war over government powers, Egyptians are clearly focused on unemployment and job creation, as well as on the economy in general and security. The widespread agreement among supporters of competing political parties to prioritize jobs is not surprising, as a lack of social and economic opportunities was one of the key issues that sparked the country's uprising in January 2011. Since then, Egypt's economy has continued to drag and the country's poverty rate has increased, according to government sources.
To bolster his support beyond those who recently voted him into office, Morsi and other government officials should align their priorities with those of the Egyptian people. After achieving such a narrow electoral victory, Morsi might benefit from focusing efforts on unemployment and Egypt's current economic crisis. His ability to make progress on those goals will likely define the level of success of his presidency.
Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,074 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted April 8-15, 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. 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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