Media freedom is the only perceived improvement
This article is the third in a series based on results from Gallup's polling in Egypt two weeks before former President Mohamed Morsi was deposed in July 2013.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Most Egyptians interviewed shortly before President Mohamed Morsi was removed from office -- and before the recent bloodshed -- said their country was worse off then than it was before President Hosni Mubarak resigned in 2011. Eighty percent of Egyptians saw their country as worse off, and half believed their country will still be worse off in five years.
As Turmoil Rises, Employment Opportunities Remain Elusive
The scarcity of employment opportunities was one of several factors that lead to Mubarak's removal -- similar to reasons leaders in other Middle Eastern and North African countries have been removed from power or faced massive protests. Most Egyptians do not believe employment opportunities in the country have improved since Mubarak's overthrow. Roughly seven in 10 Egyptians say that since Mubarak's departure, employment opportunities in the private sector (71%) and public sector (68%) have declined. With major foreign companies shutting down amid the violent clashes between Morsi supporters and government security, employment opportunities in the private sector may be even more limited in the near term and maybe longer if the instability continues.
Few Egyptians expect the job situation to get better in the short term. A plurality (42%) says it will take more than five years for the job situation to improve. More than one in 10 Egyptians see no end in sight, volunteering that the situation will never improve.
Perceptions of Media Freedom Have Improved
Media freedom is among the few bright spots Egyptians see since Mubarak's ouster. Egyptians are relatively more optimistic about the media environment in their country than other aspects, with a majority (57%) saying the freedom of the media has improved since his resignation.
It is important to note that these sentiments predate the closure of several Islamist-leaning news and entertainment channels pursuant to the July 3 decree that ended Morsi's term in office. Such a move is not likely to engender much confidence in the freedom of press among Egyptians. Even under Morsi's leadership, hundreds of criminal defamation cases were brought against journalists for "insulting the presidency." News media and political talk shows have been an important tool for all sides of the political turmoil throughout the past two and a half years.
The euphoria that Egyptians exhibited across public squares after Mubarak resigned has long passed. More than two years later and prior to the removal of Mubarak's elected successor, Egyptians were noticeably pessimistic about what the resignation has gained their country. Gallup has also previously found Egyptians' optimism about their own lives declining. However, the latest levels of pessimism, coupled with recent bouts of violence related to the forceful breakup of pro-Morsi protests this week, and the ensuing violence since then, point to a dark and concerning path for the country.
The recent events have also affected Egypt's relationships with key allies worldwide. The U.S. and other Western nations have increased their criticism of the interim government ruling the country since Morsi's ouster after hundreds were killed in the clearing of two major protests in Cairo and other clashes across the country. In reaction to the violence, President Barack Obama announced a cancellation of long-planned joint military exercises between the two countries' armed forces, indicating a potential shift away from the long-standing strategic partnership between Egypt and the U.S.
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Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,149 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted in June 12-19, 2013, in Egypt. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±3.3 percentage points. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. 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.
For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.