With the opening of polls in Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential election, five frontrunners have a reasonable chance of making it to the runoff round of voting on June 16 and 17.
According to most opinion polls, the favourites are Amr Moussa, Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, Mohamed Mursi, Ahmed Shafiq and Hamdeen Sabbahi.
Campaigners for all five presidential hopefuls have said their respective candidates would make it to the runoff. Informed sources, however, say the runoff is likely to feature two out of three frontrunners, namely, Mursi, Moussa or Shafiq.
"Most probably, it will be Mursi and Moussa [in the runoff round], but those who underestimate Shafiq – and the volume and nature of support he is getting – could be in for a big surprise," said one official.
Recent reports, the same official said, put the Brotherhood's Mursi at the head of the race.
"He's been gaining faster than has been indicated in opinion polls," he said. "He's getting support from beyond the Brotherhood's traditional support base; from those who have benefited from the group's charitable activities, Salafists, and conservative voters, who may have earlier been inclined to support Abul-Fotouh."
Mursi will win the first round with close to 30 per cent of votes cast, the official predicted, while Moussa will probably come in second with around 25 per cent of the vote.
Moussa was expected to finish first overall, before the Shafiq campaign began eating into his vote. A good chunk of Shafiq's support comes from Coptic Christians, and, according to sources at the Coptic Cathedral in Abbasiya, calls have recently gone out to support Shafiq, not Moussa.
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Also, see attached file for additional polling results.