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Friday, February 11, 2011     GET REAL

Think tank phone survey: Little popular support for Islamists, El Baradei

WASHINGTON — A poll taken by a U.S. research institute shows little support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.


A poll by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy asserted that the Brotherhood would garner up to 15 percent in any democratic election in Egypt. The poll was based on nearly 350 telephone interviews in Cairo and Alexandria on Feb. 5-8, Middle East Newsline reported.

"This is not an Islamic uprising," David Pollock, senior fellow at the institute, said. "The Muslim Brotherhood is approved by just 15 percent of Egyptians and its leaders get barely one percent of the vote in a presidential straw poll."

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Pollock, a former State Department official who directed the poll, said the sample was large enough to represent Egypt's two largest cities. The poll, said to contain a six percent margin of error, asked respondents to select national priorities, including the future of Egypt's peace treaty with Israel, support for the United States and the popularity of secular opposition leader Mohammed El Baradei.

The poll reported that 12 percent said that Islamic law should be Egypt's priority and that seven percent felt that the country was not sufficiently Islamic. In contrast, 30 percent cited corruption and the poor economy as the reasons for the popular uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

Regarding Israel, 37 percent of Egyptians support the peace treaty with Israel, compared to 27 percent that expressed opposition. The remaining third refused or said they couldn't respond.

Eighteen percent of those polled said they approved of Iran and its Palestinian proxy, Hamas. The poll said five percent of respondents attributed the opposition campaign to a feeling that the Mubarak regime was "too pro-Israel."

The poll also showed little support for El Baradei, the former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. In contrast, Arab League secretary-general Amr Mussa scored 25 percent support and Vice President Omar Suleiman garnering 17 percent.

Egyptians appeared divided over their relations with the United States. The poll reported that 36 percent supported good Egyptian relations with Washington, while the opposition reached 27 percent.

"Nevertheless, half or more of the Egyptian public disapprove of how Washington has handled this crisis so far, saying that they do not trust the United States at all," Pollack said.

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