An Egyptian man walks past anti-SCAF and Mubarak graffiti in downtown Cairo a, 23 September 2011 (Photo: Reuters)
Forty-three per cent of Egyptians believe their country's military rulers are working to slow or reverse the gains of the Tahrir Square uprising, a public opinion survey released on Wednesday suggests.
Another 21 per cent felt the military authorities were striving to advance those gains, while 14 per cent considered them to be indifferent, according to a five-nation snapshot of Arab public opinion by the University of Maryland.
Some 750 Egyptians in Cairo, Alexandria, Giza, Qaliubiya, Al-Minya (Upper Egypt) and Al-Ismailiyah (Suez Canal) took part in the October 22-30 poll, with a margin of error of 3.7 per cent.
Its release coincided with violent clashes in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt as protesters flocked back into Tahrir Square in the heart of the capital to demand an immediate end to military rule.
With the first parliamentary elections since the fall of Hosni Mubarak set to begin on Monday, the poll found that 32 percent of respondents were likely to vote for an Islamic party, and 30 per cent for a liberal one.
Asked who they would most likely vote for as president, 20 percent named former Arab League secretary general Amr Mussa, with another 19 per cent favouring former International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei.
Besides Egypt, the University of Maryland surveyed public opinion in Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates, providing a total sample size of 3,000 and what it called a margin of error of 1.8 per cent.
Turkey was deemed by 50 per cent of all respondents to have played the most constructive role internationally in the Arab Spring, followed by France (30 per cent) and the United States (24 per cent).
Forty-six per cent thought international intervention in Libya was "the wrong thing to do," versus 35 per cent who thought it was correct.
But there was broad support for ongoing uprisings in Syria (with 86 per cent sympathizing with "rebels seeking government change"), Yemen (89 per cent), and Bahrain (64 per cent).
Fifty-five per cent said they felt more optimistic about the future of the Arab world in the wake of the Arab Spring, which 57 per cent defined as "ordinary people seeking dignity, freedom and a better life."
Sixty-seven per cent favoured peace with Israel based on pre-1967 borders and the creation of a Palestinian state, although 53 per cent thought such a solution would never happen.
Shibley Telhami, who holds the Anwar Sadat chair for peace and development at the University of Maryland (www.sadat.umd.edu), led the survey (tinyurl.com/crmxl3b).