News from Egypt has been dominated in recent days by the controversy over President Mohamed Morsi’s decree limiting judicial review of his actions. A Pew Global Attitudes Project survey conducted March to April found a solid majority (81%) saying it was very important to live in a country with a fair judicial system — a number equaled only by those who say improved economic conditions are a top priority.

When it comes to key features of democracy that Egyptians believe are crucial to their country’s future, they also rated as very important a free press (62%), free speech (60%), and honest multiparty elections (58%).

Other key democratic rights and institutions, while considered at least somewhat important by a majority of Egyptians, do not register as top priorities. In particular, only 24% say that having a military that is under control of civilian leaders is very important. Less than half say that equal rights for women (41%), religious freedom for minorities (38%), and uncensored internet access (35%) are very important.

And while 67% of Egyptians agreed with the view that democracy was preferable to any other kind of government, maintaining law and order also ranked as an important priority with 60% saying this is very important for Egypt’s future. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.