After 22 months in office, satistfaction with Sisi drops to 79%

After 22 months in power, Egyptians' satisfaction with the performance of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi dropped to 79 percent, compared to 90 percent after his first year in office, according to the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research (Baseera).

What is more, 13 percent of the Egyptians are disapproving of the president's performance, while 8 percent are undecided.

Poll participants' educational level had a considerable impact on the poll results, with 73 percent of poll participants with higher education satisfied with the president’s performance, compared to 84 percent among those with a lower level of educational. However, last year, 89 percent of respondents with higher education approved of Sisi performance at the end of his first year in office.

The poll showed less satisfaction among young people than among older generations. In the under 30s category, 71 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Sisi, compared to 87 percent of people in the over 50s category.

The respondents gave various reasons for their satisfaction with the president's performance; 30 percent of those surveyed referring to the Suez Canal project and other new projects, while 25 percent believed that the president is promoting the country’s interests, leading to improvement of the situation in Egypt.

Moreover, 16 percent of the satisfied respondents are convinced that security has been improved, while 6 percent believed that the president has kept Egypt safe from the risk of war and threats from foreign intervention.

From another angle, the poll questioned respondents whether they would vote for Sisi again if presidential elections were held tomorrow. Last year, 85 percent showed their dedication to Sisi by saying that they would revote for him.

But apparently, the last 10 months were not so favorable for Sisi's popularity, as only 69 percent said in this year's poll that they would vote for Sisi again. Fourteen percent would not re-elect him, while the decision of 17 percent would depend on who the competitors are.

The percentage of those willing to revote for Sisi was clearly higher among less educated respondents, of whom 77 percent would vote for the president again. Among degree-holders, only 56 percent would want Sisi re-elected, and 61 percent of under 30s said they would choose Sisi again.

The last ten months have indeed seen ups and downs for Egyptian politics and economics, a factor that might well have weighed on Sisi's popularity and on people's satisfaction with the presidential performance. Most recently, controversy stirred over the ownership of the islands Tiran and Sanafir provoked a wave of public outrage and cast doubt over the validity of the government's decision. Some considered Sisi's move to be a sale of a valuable piece of Egyptian land, and others condemned the decision as unconstitutional.

"Aside from the question of the islands' sovereignty, the very way they were returned to Saudi Arabia was improper — there were steps the president should have taken in advance. This made people's satisfaction with the presidential performance plummet," economic expert Magdy Toulba told Egypt independent.

Toubla believed that people rate presidential performance through what they see of various sectors of society every day. They measure the regime against the short fallings they come up against in daily life. In the sectors of health and education, for instance, no clear improvements have taken place so far, as the president is working on long-term mega projects whose effects will not be clear soon.

"Prices have rocketed in recent months which put a heavy burden on the life of an average Egyptian, in addition to the uncontrollable rise of the dollar which has hit unprecedented rates against the local currency," Toulba said.

Sisi has previously said that prices will not be affected by recent hikes in US dollar rates against the Egyptian pound, urging the Armed Forces to ratchet up efforts to distribute staple food commodities through its mobile outlets for prices that “suit low-income citizens, no matter how much dollar prices rise.”

He added, "People misunderstood the difference between the regime and the government. We will still support the president until our last breath, but the remnants of bad strategies tied to the corrupt old regime have resurfaced recently, causing popular anger and dissatisfaction".

The poll was self-funded by Baseera as a part of its social responsibility activities and was conducted through both mobile phones and landlines across all governorates. The sample was 1541 citizens aged 18 and above. All phone interviews were conducted from 18 to 20 April, 2016. The response rate was around 46 percent and the margin of error in the results is less than 3 percent. 

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