Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Survey Results--Is It Enough To Influence The Obama Administration On Israel? (Updated)

McLaughlin & Associates has come out with a new poll about how Americans feel about terrorism, Iran, and Israel [PDF].

Some of the findings:
  • Nationwide, voters are very concerned about the threat of terrorism and the development of nuclear weapons in Iran. In an open-ended question, voters say terrorism (15%) is the greatest threat to the United States. Nine in ten voters (91%) say that Iran supplying a nuclear umbrella for terrorists is a serious threat to the United States. This sentiment is strong across the board including among those who voted last year for Barack Obama. There is a great deal of intensity to this sentiment as nearly seven in ten voters (69%) say Iran supplying a nuclear umbrella for terrorists is a very serious threat.
  • Seven in ten voters (71%) say the United States will not be safe with a nuclear Iran. If Iran is able to produce a nuclear weapon, nearly eight in ten voters (79%) say it is likely that Iran will provide nuclear weapons to terrorists to attack an American city.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a net positive opinion rating of 41% favorable to only 17% unfavorable. More than eight in ten voters (82%) say the United States should be concerned about the security of the State of Israel. Eight in ten voters (80%) say it is likely that Iran will launch a missile attack on Israel, and three in four voters (77%) say it is likely that Iran will use the threat of nuclear attack to provide a shield for Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists to attack Israel.
  • The majority of voters (57%) says that Israel would be justified in attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities given that Iran has publicly threatened to annihilate Israel.
  • Six in ten voters (60%) say that the Palestinians would continue their campaign of terror to destroy Israel even if they were given their own state in the West Bank and Gaza. Only 18% of voters say the Palestinians would live peacefully with Israel.
Given the numbers about how Americans feel about creating a second Palestinian state, does the survey do anything to support those who oppose the two state solution?

Probably not. Just take a look at the results of a poll taken by McLaughlin & Associates back in 2003:
  • 71% of Americans believe that the Palestinian Arabs “should not be given a state,” since the Palestinian Arabs have not fulfilled President Bush’s conditions for creating a state, “such as fighting terrorism, stopping the promotion of hatred in its media, ending the encouragement of murder in its schools, becoming a democracy, and respecting human rights.” Only 13% believe the Palestinian Arabs have fulfilled those conditions and therefore should be given a state.
  • 77% of Americans say that “the United States should stop giving the Palestinian Arabs $150-million” in aid each year. Only 12% favor such aid.
  • 61% of Americans believe that “the goal of Yasir Arafat’s Palestinian Authority is the eventual destruction of Israel.” Only 19% believe that its goal “is to have a small state living in peace alongside Israel.”
  • 51% of Americans believe that a Palestinian Arab state will be a terrorist state; only 25% believe that it will be a civilized democracy.
  • 73% of Americans want the U.S. government to demand that the Palestinian Authority “turn over all Palestinian Arabs accused of killing or injuring American citizens.” Only 16% said the U.S. should not make that demand. (More than 100 Americans have been murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorist groups, and their killers are being sheltered by the Palestinian Authority.)
  • 64% believe that world leaders should refuse to meet with Arafat’s number two man, Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), since he has claimed that the Nazis did not murder six million Jews—just as world leaders have refused to meet with others who have denied or distorted the Holocaust. Only 20% believe that world leaders should meet with Mazen.
Even with these strong numbers, talk about the two state solution has only grown stronger to the point that its proponents claim that stability in the entire region depends on giving Palestinian Arabs their own state.

Of course, the fact that Israel--especially when Olmert was Prime Minister--tacitly accepted the idea made it easier to both back the idea of a second Palestinian state and claim to still be a friend of Israel.

The question remains whether the implications of the current poll provide ammunition to influence the stance of the Obama administration on the issues.

Oh. I saved the most interesting results of the survey for last--look at what Americans consider to be a bigger threat than Al Qaeda and Iran.

What I'm wondering though is how Iran could rate so low as "the greatest threat to the United States"  if according to the same survey 'nine in ten voters (91%) say that Iran supplying a nuclear umbrella for terrorists is a serious threat to the United States' and 'nearly seven in ten voters (69%) say Iran supplying a nuclear umbrella for terrorists is a very serious threat.'

Check out the survey [PDF].

UPDATE: Jennifer Rubin analyzes the results, especially how it plays out across party affiliation. She concludes:

Americans are “not naive,” as the president likes to say, about Iran and are very supportive of Israel. As to the former, given the level of concern about an attack on a U.S. city, a policy that seemed to tolerate Iranian possession of nuclear weapons would be very unpopular. Finally, the difference along party lines with regard to Israel is noteworthy and troubling (at least to those who believe a robust relationship between the two countries is in their mutual interests), especially at a time when Democrats dominate both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Read the whole thing.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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