Poll: Americans criticize Obama on Egypt, want aid cut off

August 19, 2013

A majority of Americans -- 51 percent -- now want foreign aid to Egypt to be cut off, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.

The poll also finds significant unhappiness with President Obama's response to the increasing unrest and violence in Egypt -- a reflection of the tough path forward for the administration as the Egyptian government and protesters continue to clash.

The poll asked respondents whether the United States should cut off funding to apply pressure to the Egyptian government or continue military aid to have an influence on what happens there. Fifty-one percent chose cutting off aid, 26 percent chose continuing aid, and 23 percent said they didn't know.

Thirteen senators voted to cut off Egypt's aid last month when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) forced a vote on the issue.

But the idea has been catching on since hundreds have been killed in Egypt over the past week. New supporters of cutting off aid include Senate Armed Services Committee members John McCain (R-Ariz.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

Obama doesn't have a whole lot of supporters for his approach to the crisis so far. Half of Americans -- 50 percent -- say he's not being tough enough on Egypt, while 12 percent say he is being tough enough and 6 percent say he's being too tough. Another 32 percent offered no opinion.

In other words, just 12 percent say Obama has handled the situation in Egypt well, while 56 percent found fault with him, and the rest had no opinion.

Despite the poll numbers, very few Americans are following the situation closely -- just 22 percent. That suggests that while people express opinions about the situation, they may not be very strong or set in stone.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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