Many Are Worried About Egypt And The Obama Administration

July 10, 2013, 4:18 PM GMT+0

(Week of 7/6/2013) The recent protests before and after the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi in Egypt is more likely to evoke worry than any other emotion, and in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, many don’t think President Obama has been managing that situation particularly well. One in three say they are mostly worried, more than the 23% who say they are interested, 19% who are hopeful. And the worry is even higher among those who have heard a lot about the situation in Egypt.

However, so far Americans have been less attentive to the events in Egypt than they were two years ago, just after protests resulted in the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, opening the way for the democratic elections that put Morsi in power. Then only 8% said they had heard or read nothing at all about the protests; now 23% say they aren’t following the story.

In February 2011, a majority of Americans regarded Egypt as generally friendly to the United States. Now they are not so sure. Now, more Americans look on Egypt as either unfriendly or as an enemy, complicating the dilemma of the government, which must decide whether to continue to give foreign aid to the Egyptian military. Then, just as now, many are unsure how to regard Egypt.

Public expectations for the development of a stable democracy are still muted. While more expect there will eventually be a stable democracy there someday than don’t, only 6% say it can happen within a year. About a third believes it can happen but will take longer than a year, while a third take the pessimistic view that there will never be a stable democracy in Egypt.

In 2011, Americans approved of U.S. President Barack Obama’s response to the protests; now, they do not.

Those who are paying a lot of attention are even more negative about the President’s current performance. 28% of them approve, but 51% do not.

The President’s approval ratings on other foreign-related items are also low. Asked about the President’s handling of foreign policy in general, just 28% approve, while 46% do not.

On Afghanistan, where the President’s promise to remove all U.S troops has always met with general support, there is much less approval today. More disapprove (45%) of his handling as approve (37%) this week. And the President’s rating on terrorism, which peaked after the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011, is also more negative than positive.