With President Hosni Mubarak vowing to stay in power through the transition of government, the central question facing the Obama administration, and indeed the world, is what will happen when Mubarak does indeed leave and Egypt transitions to Democratic elections and a new government.
President Obama dramatically understated the level of support the Muslim Brotherhood has garnered in Egypt in his Super Bowl interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, and is most likely wrong to have asserted that the Brothers and their allies do not command majority support in the country.
While the Brotherhood now says that they don't plan to contest the presidential elections directly, that can always change. And the data suggests strongly that any candidate they back directly or indirectly would have a potentially decisive advantage. Moreover, there is every reason to believe they would win a decisive, if not dominant role, in Parliament and would be the key actors in selecting the next prime minister as well as setting the legislative agenda.
While very recent public opinion polling from Egypt is not currently available, a number of clear inferences about what is likely to happen can be drawn from prior surveys and prior election results.
The bottom line: there is at least a 50 percent chance, if not more, that a candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood or a party with a generally similar approach and orientation will win the next presidential election.