Pew poll shows Hamas not so unpopular in Egypt

I'll let others — like the Majlis — conduct a thorough analysis of the latest Pew Global poll on Muslim attitudes, which among other things found that Saudi King Abdullah is the most popular leader in the region. The Saudi media is of course jubilant about that. As much as I dislike the Saudis, King Abdullah does seem to have been more competent than other Arab leaders, and less likely to get hot-headed or be put on the defensive. That may have to do, of course, with Saudi Arabia's wide-ranging control over Arab media and a lull on the Qatari-Saudi media wars when it comes to personal attacks.

I was interested to see how the people polled on views of Hamas and Hizbullah. As you can see from this chart, in Egypt Hamas retains surprising popularity despite a considerable amount of anti-Hamas propaganda coming from the state press and elsewhere, as well as the (contested) shooting of Egyptian border guards by Hamas. I'm a little surprised by this, because some of the anti-Hamas agitation appears effective, and I did not get the feeling that the average Egyptian was particularly outraged by Egypt's anti-Hamas policies. Of course, a good part of the intelligentsia is outraged, so is the lack of visibility of pro-Hamas sentiment simply the result of police repression of any protests on the Gaza issue?


Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region,