Egypt’s Sisi Has Higher ‘Favorable’ Rating There, Than Obama Here

May 27, 2014 - 12:22 PM

John Kerry and Abdel Fatah al-Sisi

Secretary of State John Kerry meets with then-Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on Nov. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)

(CNSNews.com) - General Abdel Fatah al Sisi, the former Egyptian Defense Minister who last summer led the country’s military in ousting an elected president who was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, has a higher favorable rating among Egyptians than President Barack Obama has among Americans when a recent Pew Research Center survey of Egyptians is compared to the current RealClearPolitics.com average of U.S. polls.

Egypt voted yesterday and today in a presidential election in which Sisi faces only one opponent, Hamdeen Sabahi, and that Sisi is expected to win.

The Pew survey, conducted April 10-29 and released Friday, included 1,000 face-to-face interviews with Egyptian adults. Fifty-four percent of these Egyptians said they had a favorable view of Sisi.

Sisi's Favorable Rating

In the current RealClearPolitics.com average of U.S. polls, only 46.3 percent say they have a favorable view of Obama.

In the six recent polls that went into the RealClearPolitics.com average, Obama’s favorable rating ranged from 42 percent to 49 percent. These six polls, however, did not all survey the same categories of people. Three surveyed adults, two surveyed registered voters, and one surveyed likely voters.

In The Economist/YouGov survey of 1,000 adults conducted May 5-12, 46 percent said they had a favorable view of Obama. In a Fox News survey of 1,012 registered voters conducted April 13-15, 45 percent said they had a favorable view of Obama. In a McClatchy-Marist survey of 1,036 registered voters conducted April 7-10, 49 percent said they had a favorable view of Obama. In an Associated Press-GfK survey of 1,012 adults conducted March 20-24, 42 percent said they had a favorable view of Obama. In a George Washington University-Battleground survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted March 16-20, 47 percent said they had a favorable view of Obama. And, in a Bloomberg survey of 1,001 adults conducted March 7-10, 49 percent said they had a favorable view of Obama.

In Gallup's most-recent survey on Obama’s favorability, conducted among 1,023 adults February 6-9, 52 percent said they had a favorable view of Obama.

The Pew Research Center survey asked Egyptians: “And thinking about some political leaders and organizations in our country, please tell me if you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable opinion of Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.” Thirty-two percent said they had “very favorable” opinion of Sisi and 22 percent said they had a “somewhat favorable” opinion of Sisi, giving him an overall favorable rating of 54 percent. Seventeen percent said they had a “somewhat unfavorable” opinion and 28 percent said they had a “very unfavorable” opinion, giving Sisi an overall unfavorable rating of 45 percent.

The Economist/YouGov survey, the latest one in the Real Clear Politics average, asked 1,000 American adults a similar question about Obama. Twenty-three percent said they had a “very favorable” opinion of Obama and 23 percent said they had a “somewhat favorable” opinion of Obama, giving Obama an overall favorable rating of 46 percent. In the Associated Press poll of 1,012 adults conducted March 20-24, 22 percent said they had a very favorable “impression” of Obama and 20 percent said they had a somewhat favorable “impression,” giving Obama an overall favorable rating of 42 percent.

Egypt is now holding its second presidential election since February 2011, when then-President Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign in the face of public demonstrations. In June 2012, Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, became Egypt’s president by winning a run-off election with 51.7 percent of the vote. In July 2013, the Egyptian military, led by Defense Minister Sisi, forced Morsi out of office, and appointed Egyptian Chief Justice Adli Mansour to be the interim president. This March, Sisi resigned as Defense Minister in order to run for president.

The same percentage of Egyptians who said they have a favorable view of Sisi also say they have a favorable view of the military’s removal of Morsi. The Pew Research Center asked: “Do you favor or oppose the military’s removal of Mohammed Morsi from power last year?” 54 percent said they favored it and 43 percent said they opposed it.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s favorable rating in the Pew Research Center survey was 38 percent. At the same time, 56 percent said that the military, which removed the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi from power, was a good influence in Egypt.

This morning, National Public Radio's Leila Fadel reported from Cairo on the Egyptian election. "This is the first real test of Sisi's popularity," she said of the vote. "It's been said here that he is hugely popular, that he will unify Egypt. But a recent poll from the Pew Research Center shows that only 54 percent of Egyptians view Sisi favorably. So, he's really concerned and the authorities are concerned that Egyptians won't come out en masse and vote for him."

"I suppose we should mention 54 percent approval rating is actually not that bad for an American politician," said NPR's moderator. "But you're saying that the Egyptian government is concerned because there has been virtually no opposition allowed and they're worried that that other 46 percent or more won't even show up."

"Yeah," said Fadel, "there is a huge minority that is boycotting this vote, that are sitting at home not ready to participate."

On May 16, the Carter Center, founded by President Jimmy Carter, issued a report expressing concerns about the Egyptian election. "The Carter Center is concerned about the restrictive political and legal context surrounding Egypt's electoral process, the lack of a genuinely competitive campaign environment, and the deep political polarization that threatens the country's transition as May 26-27 presidential elections quickly approach," said the report.

"Although a significant part of the Egyptian population appears to support the military-backed transition, the period following the July 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi has been marked by severe and escalating political conflict, polarization, and the failure to advance national reconciliation," said the report. "In addition to the oppression and exclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, there has been a crackdown on opposition and media across the political spectrum and expanding limitations on fundamental political freedoms of association, expression, and peaceful assembly."