Americans are watching the political and military crisis in Egypt very closely, feel President Obama has inadequately handled the situation, and want the U.S. to suspend military shipments to the embattled nation, according to new polls from the Pew Research Center and Rasmussen Reports.
The findings amount to a thumbs down for Obama's approach to the crisis which spiked while he was vacationing on Martha's Vineyard last week.
In a Pew poll released Monday afternoon, 51 percent of Americans said it is better for the United States to cut off military aid to Egypt to put pressure on the government. Some 26 percent said it is better to continue military aid to the government in order to maintain influence in Egypt.
Their survey conducted Aug. 15-18 among 1,000 adults also found that 50 percent believe Obama hasn't been tough enough toward the Egyptian military in responding to the violence against anti-government protesters; just 6 percent say he has been too tough. Some 12 percent said his response has been about right.
In the Rasmussen poll, their suvey of 1,000 likely voters found that despite breaking from his vacation to give a statement last week on Egypt, just 30 percent said that Obama and his team have responded to the crisis in a good to excellent manner. A much larger 56 percent said that his administration has done a fair to poor job so far, with the "poor" rating the highest of the choices, at 33 percent.
In his statement, the president announced that the U.S would not participate in a planned military exercise with Egypt, but he didn't cut off aid.
Asked if the United States should continue its military and economic aid to Egypt, just 18 percent said yes, compared to 54 percent who said no.
Clearly the crisis that is threatening Mideast peace is on the minds of Americans. Even during summer when interest in news wanes, 75 percent of the likely voters Rasmussen polled said that they were paying attention to the reports out of Cairo.
And what they are seeing is influencing their impression of democracy in Egypt in a negative way. Rasmussen said in the new poll released Monday that 56 believe it's not very likely that the country will become democratic in the future. Some 29 percent said it would.
Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.