Egyptians Remain Optimistic, Embrace Democracy and Religion in Political Life

May 08, 2012

Despite economic difficulties and political uncertainty, Egyptians remain upbeat about the course of the nation and prospects for progress. Amid rancorous debates over the presidential election and the shape of a new constitution, most Egyptians continue to want democracy, with two-in-three saying it is the best form of government.

Egyptians also want Islam to play a major role in society, and most believe the Quran should shape the country’s laws, although a growing minority expresses reservations about the increasing influence of Islam in politics. When asked which country is the better model for the role of religion in government, Turkey or Saudi Arabia, 61% say the latter. However, most also endorse specific democratic rights and institutions that do not exist in Saudi Arabia, such as free speech, a free press, and equal rights for women.

Seven-in-ten Egyptians express a favorable view of the Muslim Brotherhood, down just slightly from 75% a year ago. Most (56%) also have a positive opinion of the Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the largest party in the newly elected parliament. The more conservative al-Nour fares less well: 44% have a favorable and 44% an unfavorable view of the Salafist party. Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, a Salafist leader who was recently disqualified as a presidential candidate, gets somewhat better ratings (52% positive, 42% negative).

Read the full report, Egyptians Remain Optimistic, Embrace Democracy and Religion in Political Life, on the Pew Global Attitudes Project website.

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