- Middle East/North Africa
The latest opinion poll by a prominent think tank has revealed that Islamic preacher Hazem Salah Abu Ismail and former spy chief Omar Suleiman had topped the presidential race before their exclusion from it.
Before being barred from the race, ultraconservative Salafi Abu Ismail had 26 percent of votes, while Hosni Mubarak's spy chief Suleiman garnered 21 percent, according to Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies' poll.
Earlier this month, the Presidential Elections Commission disqualified both candidates — along with seven others, including Muslim Brotherhood chief strategist Khairat al-Shater — because they didn't meet various legal requirements.
The poll was conducted from 14 to 17 April, when the commission was determining the names of ineligible candidates.
Below is the votes won by each candidate included in the survey:
Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, 25.2 percent
Omar Suleiman, 21.3 percent
Amr Moussa, 21.3 percent
Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, 10.5 percent
Hamdeen Sabbahi, 5.8 percent
Khairat al-Shater, 3.7 percent
Ahmed Shafiq, 3.3 percent
The results after the exclusion of Abu Ismail, Suleiman and Shater gave Moussa a major push. The list of candidates and their votes are as follows:
Amr Moussa, 40.9 percent
Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, 25.2 percent
Ahmed Shafiq, 10.5 percent
Hamdeen Sabbahi, 9.3 percent
Mohamed Selim al-Awa, 4.4 percent
Mohamed Morsy, 0.9 percent
The poll, published in state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram, shows that the largest number of Suleiman's supporters might shift to backing Moussa and Shafiq. A smaller but significant portion of his votes might go to Abouel Fotouh.
Abu Ismail's supporters are more likely to back Abouel Fotouh, the article said.
The think tank said the poll shows the difference between the ideological disharmony of Abouel Fotouh's and Moussa's backers compared to the coherence of the more dedicated Abu Ismail fans.
Abouel Fotouh is a moderate Islamist who was dismissed from the Muslim Brotherhood after he announced his wish to run for president in 2011. His backers include both secularists and Islamists.
The poll said Shater's supporters are facing a dilemma as their second favorite nominee, Abu Ismail, has also been excluded.
It noted that those votes will probably be divided between Abouel Fotouh and the alternative Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohamed Morsy.
The latter is the head of the Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party. Commentators say his chances are weak because he is not a well-known public figure.
As far as participants' preferences to varying ideological orientations are concerned, the poll seems to put the liberal reformists bloc, represented by Amr Moussa and Ahmed Shafiq, in the forefront, with nearly 50 percent of votes.
The Islamist bloc, however — which consists of Abouel Fotouh, Awa and Morsy — comes second with roughly 30 percent. It puts socialist and liberal revolutionaries Hamdeen Sabbahi, Hesham al-Bastawisy, Abul Ezz al-Hariry and Khaled Ali in third.