A statue of Egypt's Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz is back dropped with two electoral posters of presidential candidates Amr Moussa, left with Arabic that reads, "Egypt's reconstruction needs the effort of all Egyptians," and his fellow candidate Mohammed Morsi, right, in Cairo (Photo: AP)
On Sunday, three days before Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential election, two opinion polls were published by the semi-official Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies and daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm's Baseera Centre. The results were as follows:
In its weekly poll conducted by the Ahram Centre between 14 and 17 May, Mubarak-era FM Amr Moussa maintained his lead as Egypt's favoured presidential candidate, but fell from 40 per cent of the vote to 31.7 per cent.
Moussa's popularity fell by nine points between the latest poll and last week's presidential poll published on 14 May.
Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last prime minister and long-time civil aviation minister, still held second place with 22.6 per cent, 2.6 per cent higher than in last week's poll.
Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohamed Morsi, meanwhile, jumped into third place for the first time with 14.8 per cent, outscoring former Muslim Brother Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh by 0.2 per cent. Abul-Fotouh fell to fourth place with 14.6 per cent.
Last week, Morsi received only 9.4 per cent of the vote. This suggests that the Brotherhood candidate is gaining 0.6 per cent daily, according to pollsters at the Ahram Centre.
Abul-Fotouh continues to fall. Last week, he held third place with17.8 per cent, down from 24 per cent in the previous poll conducted between 28 April and 1 May.
Hamdeen Sabbahi, meanwhile, the Nasserist candidate running on an independent ticket, came in at fifth place with 11.7 per cent, 4.7 percent more than he scored the previous week.
The popularity of Moussa and Abul-Fotouh reached its peak after former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, Salafist preacher Hazem Abu-Ismail and first-choice Brotherhood candidate Khairat El-Shater were all disqualified from the race last month. Abul-Fotouh's popularity fell following Morsi's eleventh-hour entry into the presidential contest.
The first televised presidential debate between frontrunners Moussa and Abul-Fotouh took place on 10 May. Abul-Fotouh attempted to capitalise on Moussa's former position as foreign minister under the Mubarak regime from 1991 to 2001. Moussa fired back, portraying Abul-Fotouh as being beholden to the Brotherhood and other Islamist forces.
According to the latest Ahram poll, Morsi has worked himself up the ladder to outstrip Abul-Fotouh by stressing his Islamist ideology and calling for the implementation of Islamic principles.
Sabbahi has held onto fifth place, garnering 11.7 per cent of the vote. His popularity has increased following several recent television appearances.
Mohamed Selim El-Awa, a well-known Islamic thinker, came in sixth place with 2.3 per cent of the vote, falling from 5.7 per cent last week.
Khaled Ali, leftist lawyer and workers' rights activist, came in seventh place with 1.1 percent, outscoring Abul-Ezz El-Hariri who is running on the Socialist Popular Alliance Party's ticket and who received 0.6 per cent.
The poll showed that 86.6 per cent of registered voters planned to cast ballots in the election. A poll by Cabinet's Information and Decision Support Centre conducted from 11 to 13 May, in which 1,359 people were interviewed via telephone, by contrast, showed that 45 per cent were still undecided.
According to the poll, the runoff vote will likely be between Moussa and Morsi in the event that the former's popularity continues to rise. If votes for Moussa fall, however, Shafiq will likely take his place against Morsi.
The poll was conducted using a sample of 1,200 individuals through personal interviews.
This is the eighth presidential poll conducted by the Ahram Centre. For the first three weeks, Ahram had no final list of approved candidates, so voters simply named their favourite president hopeful. In the fourth week, the poll was conducted with 23 candidates, and in the fifth week the list was reduced to 12 candidates.
The poll conducted by Al-Masry Al-Youm's Baseera Centre put Shafiq in the lead with 19.3 per cent, while Moussa came in second with 14.6 per cent. Abul-Fotouh came in third with 12.4 per cent, while Sabbahi came in fourth with 9.5 per cent.
Morsi came in fifth with 9 per cent, while El-Awa and Ali came in sixth and seventh place respectively with 1 percent each.
The poll revealed that 33 per cent of those polled remained undecided.
The poll was conducted using a sample of 2,287 individuals above 18 years of age through telephone interviews (both land line and mobile phones). Some 90 per cent of those polled responded.
Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential poll will be held on 23 and 24 May, with a runoff round on 16 and 17 June if no single candidate wins an outright majority. Egypt's next president will be formally named on 21 June.