Mitt Romney might be struggling to capture the Jewish vote, but he seems to have the Egyptian vote all sewn up.
Several polls of American Jewish voters have shown Barack Obama with a 2-to-1 advantage over the presumptive Republican nominee, but a new survey of Egyptian preferences gives Romney the edge by an even more emphatic margin.
Asked who they hope wins the November presidential election, 73% of Egyptians chose the Mormon former governor of Massachusetts while just 25% picked Obama.
The report on the survey, conducted by Shibley Telhami of the Brookings Institution in the first 10 days of May, notes that this result is probably not because of a deep sense of affinity between Egyptians and the GOP candidate.
"It is unlikely that most Egyptians know much about Romney, and the choice is more likely to be an expression of disappointment with Obama," it assesses.
Still, it''s quite a statement that so many Egyptians are ready to back the man who would assume the party mantle of George W. Bush just three years after Obama came into office with a favorable rating from Egyptians.
The poll also has some other eyebrow-raising conclusions. The public is pretty evenly split between whether to honor the peace treaty with Israel or not, but when asked an open-ended question on naming a leader they hoped the next Egyptian president would emulate, Anwar Sadat -- whose legacy and life was sealed with the Camp David Accords -- came in first with 35%. Behind him was Gamal Abdel Nasser at 26%, with 15% choosing Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Additionally, 71% said that the Muslim Brotherhood made a mistake by going back on its promise not to put forth a presidential candidate, but 66% support making sharia the basis of Egyptian law. When asked which country does best in bringing Islam into politics, Turkey won with 54%, but Saudi Arabia got a healthy 32% share of the vote.
Rumors are already swirling about whether Romney will visit Israel ahead of the elections, so let''s add to the speculation: Will he also visit Egypt to play to his popular support there?
- Hilary Leila Krieger