Americans divided on U.S. involvement in Egypt

As the political unrest in Egypt continues, there is a question of how involved the United States should be in helping to solve the problems. Should the U.S. sit on the sidelines or is it more appropriate for U.S. diplomats to be front and centre on this issue?

Americans are clearly divided on how involved the United States should be. Just over two in five U.S. adults (43%) believe the U.S. should be involved, with 12% saying very involved and 31% saying somewhat involved. Almost the same number (42%) believe the United States should not be involved with 21% each saying not very involved and not at all involved, while 15% of Americans are not at all sure how involved the U.S. should be.

When it comes to how involved the U.S. should be in the political unrest in Egypt right now, there are some differences that emerge by age. Almost half (48%) of those 55 and older as well as 45% of those 18-34 believe that the United States should be involved.  Those 35-44 and 45-54 are of a different mind. Almost half (47%) of both of these age groups say the United States should not be involved in Egypt. In fact, over one-quarter of those 45-54 (26%) say the U.S. should not be involved at all.

There are not many things Democrats and Republicans agree on right now, but involvement in Egypt’s current political unrest is one of them. Almost half of Democrats (48%) and Republicans (48%) say the U.S. should be involved while 40% of Republicans and 37% of Democrats say the U.S. should not be involved. Independents, however, think differently. Almost half of them (47%) say the United States should not be involved in the current unrest while two in five Independents (40%) believe the U.S. should be involved.

The political unrest in Egypt is not likely to disappear any time in the near future. Things may calm, but the tension will still be simmering. And, even when President Mubarak is no longer in power, there is no guarantee that the unrest will be over. Americans are all watching events unfold but, at the moment, seem to be unclear as to the level of involvement the United States should have. As things evolve there, likely so will attitudes in the U.S.

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This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States February 2 and 4, 2010 among 2,060 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.