CAIRO — The government, media and military harangued voters to go to the polls Tuesday in the second and final day of Egypt’s presidential election, worried that turnout was weaker than expected in a vote in which the front-runner, former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, is trying to garner an overwhelming show of support.

Low turnout would be a heavy symbolic blow to el-Sissi. It would suggest a significant sector of Egyptians – beyond his Islamist opponents – are skeptical of the retired field marshal despite 10 months of relentless adulation of him by the government and media, praising him as the nation’s savior and his crackdown on Islamists as part of a war on terrorism.

El-Sissi is poised for an almost certain victory. But he and his backers seek a massive show of public support to send a message to the West – as well as to his domestic opponents – that his ouster last year of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was not a coup but a popular revolution, similar to the 2011 uprising that ended autocrat Hosni Mubarak’s almost 30-year-long rule.

There were no official figures on turnout in the previous day’s voting. Monitoring groups said Monday saw only moderate voting, and often thin or non-existent voting in some areas, particularly where Islamists dominate.

On Tuesday, voting appeared even slower than the day before, though a scorching heat wave may have been a factor, with an increase expected after nightfall.

The campaign of El-Sissi’s opponent in the election, leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, said its representatives at polling stations estimated turnout Monday at only 10-15 percent. It argued that was a sign of protest from Egyptians fearing el-Sissi will bring back Mubarak-like autocratic policies they sought to remove with the 2011 revolt.

In an unusual move, the chief of staff of the military, Mahmoud Hegazy – an in-law of el-Sissi – visited polling stations in the south and urged voters to come out, saying the stakes are high.

After polls closed Monday, many of the numerous TV political talk shows furiously berated people who hadn’t voted. “By sitting at home, they are wasting what we have accomplished the past year … our war on terrorism,” Hayat el-Dardiri on the pro-military Faraeen TV said.