CAIRO (AP) — More than half of all Egyptians would like to see the 1979 peace treaty with Israel annulled, according to results of a poll conducted by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center released Monday.

The poll highlights the deep unpopularity of the three-decade-old treaty, which is central to U.S. policy in the region and was scrupulously adhered to by former President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted Feb. 11.

The poll also revealed that most Egyptians are optimistic about where the country is headed following the 18-day popular uprising, and they look forward to greater democracy in their country.

The fall of Egypt’s autocratic leader and the rise of a more democratic system, however, could threaten relations with neighbor Israel.

According to the poll results, only 36 percent of Egyptians are in favor of maintaining the treaty, compared with 54 percent who would like to see it scrapped.

Despite the decades of peace and limited trade between the two countries, most Egyptians view the Israelis poorly, largely because of perceptions that they mistreat the Palestinians.

Opinions varied according to income, with 60 percent of lower income Egyptians supporting the treaty’s cancellation while only 45 percent of the wealthier classes thinking it should be done away with.

Only 40 percent of Egyptians with a college education thought the treaty should be scrapped, as well.

The poll, based on interviews with 1,000 Egyptians around the country, was conducted between March 24 and April 7 as part of the Spring 2011 Pew Global Attitudes survey that was conducted in 22 countries.

The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.