WASHINGTON, D.C. — Often overshadowed in the media by the protest movements and the voting interests of Egypt’s largest cities, high percentages of rural Egyptians voted in last winter’s parliamentary elections, and they will likely play a key role in the presidential runoff. Large majorities of rural residents — who make up 57% of Egypt’s population — told Gallup they voted in Egypt’s historic parliamentary elections between late November 2011 and early January 2012.
Voter turnout among all Egyptians in the first round of Egypt’s presidential election in late May was much lower than in the parliamentary elections, and voter support was fragmented. However, many Egypt analysts still see rural Egyptians’ votes as up for grabs, even after breaking solidly for the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafi Al-Nour Party in parliamentary elections.
Mohamed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq, the top two vote getters in Egypt’s first round of presidential elections, have taken to speaking directly to the concerns of Egypt’s rural voters in an attempt to court this largely overlooked constituency. Some view Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, as the natural favorite in the conservative Egyptian countryside where Islamists have a long history of gathering grassroots support. However, there is evidence that Shafiq’s campaign theme of “law and order” may play well among a rural population increasingly nostalgic for a level of public order experienced before the revolution. Regardless of which candidate gains the support of Egypt’s countryside, it is clear that rural voters will form an important constituency in Egyptian politics for the near future.
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Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,086 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 2012, in Egypt. For results based on the total samples, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3.4 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.
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