Americans Sympathetic to Egyptian Protesters
Majority think the outcome will be mostly good for the U.S. and for Egypt
by Frank Newport
PRINCETON, NJ — Most Americans support the protesters who have called for a change in the government in Egypt,with 82% saying they are sympathetic to the protesters (including 42% who are very sympathetic), while 11% are unsympathetic.
These results are based on interviews conducted Feb. 2-5, 2011, as part of Gallup’s annual World Affairs Social Series poll, and during a time when protests and reactions in Egypt dominated the international news.
While the ratio of sympathetic to unsympathetic attitudes is larger among those who are following the situation closely than among those not following it closely, the differences largely disappear when those with no opinion are taken into account.
Overall, 69% of Americans are following the news about the political crisis and demonstrations in Egypt very or somewhat closely. This puts the Egyptian situation in the top half of all news stories Gallup has measured using this question format since 1991, slightly above the median of 60%.
Americans View Political Changes as Good for Egypt and for the United States
Two-thirds of Americans (66%) say the political changes occurring in Egypt will be mostly good for that country, and a similar percentage (60%) say the changes will be mostly good for the United States.
Those who are closely following news of the situation in Egypt do not differ markedly from others in their views of the situation’s impact.
Democrats are more likely than independents or Republicans to say they are sympathetic to the Egyptian protesters. Democrats are also more likely to say the developments in Egypt are mostly good for both the country of Egypt and the United States. Overall, regardless of partisan orientation, majorities of all party groups are sympathetic to the protesters and view the changes to the Egyptian government positively.
The Obama administration has so far reacted cautiously to the developments in Egypt, by all accounts attempting to support the idea of democratic reforms without appearing to interfere too much in the ultimate fate of the Egyptian government. The administration, diplomats, commentators, and other observers also continue to debate the ultimate ramifications of the changes in Egypt for combating terrorism, maintaining stability in the Middle East, and protecting the supply of oil to the U.S. But the potential risks related to the likely change in government in Egypt do not appear to be prominent in Americans’ minds. The overwhelming majority are sympathetic to the protesters seeking to oust the current government and are generally optimistic that the outcome of the situation will be positive for the U.S. and for Egypt.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Feb. 2-5, 2011, with a random sample of 1,015 national adults, aged 18 and older, living in the continental U.S., selected using random-digit-dial sampling.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones (for respondents with a landline telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell phone-only). Each sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone-only respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, education, region, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2010 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in continental U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
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.
View methodology, full question results, and trend data. SOURCE