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Fox News Poll: Most Americans See Events in Egypt as Worrisome Rather Than Inspiring

After more than two weeks of mass protests in Egypt, 67 percent of American voters describe events in that country as “worrisome.”  That’s more than three times as many as see the events as “inspiring” (19 percent).

The unrest began on January 25 and continued through today.  Protesters vowed to continue until Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned.  Thursday evening Mubarak announced he will stay in office until September.

Republicans (81 percent) and those who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement (82 percent) are among the most likely to describe the events as “worrisome.” 

Democrats (26 percent) and independents (23 percent) are more than twice as likely as Republicans (9 percent) to see the events in Egypt as “inspiring.” 

Click here to see raw poll data.

A Fox News poll released Thursday also found that a large majority of voters think what happens in Egypt matters here at home, with 41 percent saying the events are “very” important to the United States and another 39 percent saying “somewhat” important.

Almost half of American voters (48 percent) approve of how the Obama administration is handling the situation in Egypt, while about a third disapproves (32 percent).  The remaining 20 percent have no opinion.

A majority of Democrats (65 percent) and a plurality of independents (47 percent) approves of how the administration is dealing with the situation, while over half of Republicans disapprove (52 percent).

Voter sentiment is mixed on where the relationship between Egypt and the United States stands: 42 percent think Egypt is truly a friend, and about the same number -- 43 percent -- say it isn’t.

Democrats are more likely to see Egypt as a friend by a margin of 13 percentage points, while Republicans are more likely to say Egypt is not a friend by a margin of 17 points.

Likewise, views are fairly split on whether Islam is generally a peaceful religion (43 percent) or a violent religion (38 percent).  Others say “it depends” (8 percent) or are unsure (11 percent).

Could similar anti-government protests and violence take place here?  By a wide 26-point margin voters say yes.  Sixty-one percent say what’s happening in Egypt could happen in the United States, while 35 percent disagree.

Younger voters under age 35 and voters ages 55 and over are equally likely to think similar protests could take place in the United States. 

In addition, Democrats (59 percent), independents (62 percent) and Republicans (63 percent) are about equally likely to think so.  Fully three-quarters of voters who consider themselves part of the Tea Party think it's a possibility (76 percent). 

In the early days of the demonstrations the Egyptian government shut down access to several forms of communication, including the Internet and mobile phones.  The Fox News poll found most American voters think that should not be an option in the United States, with 81 percent saying the federal government should never have the ability to shut down the Internet.  Some 14 percent say it should. 

On this there is agreement across the board, with large majorities of Democrats (78 percent), independents (83 percent) and Republicans (85 percent) saying the government should not be able to shut down the Internet. 

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 911 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from Feb. 7 to Feb. 9.  For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. 

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