Thursday, May 21, 2009

One Jerusalem Conference Call With Pollster John McLaughlin

This morning I wrote a post about the results of new poll done by McLaughlin & Associates on issues related to Iran's quest for nuclear weapons, Israel's relations with Iran and the Palestinians, and general national security issues. A summary of their findings is available on their site in PDF format.

This afternoon, bloggers had the opportunity to speak with John McLaughlin about his poll in a conference call put together by One Jerusalem.
One of the points that John McLaughlin emphasized is that the American public demonstrated that it is ahead of the Obama administration on the issue of Iran and the threat that it poses--not only to the security of Israel but to the security of the US as well. Not only did terrorism rank as the number #1 greatest threat to the US (ahead of the economy) but 71% of those surveyed answered that they felt the US will not be safe froma nuclear Iran--with 79% responding that if Iran is successful in producing a nuclear weapon, Iran is likely to provide nuclear weapons to terrorists to attack an American city.

In response to a question from Boker Tov, Boulder on the indication in the poll that Americans have a positive view of Netanyahu, McLaughlin indicated that in a finding not included in the summary 66% of those polled had a negative view of Bibi's counterpart in Iran: Ahmadinejad. Obviously, it is helpful for Israel to have a leader who can represent Israel well but also project a positive image.

Rick Richman of Contentions asked about the methodology of the survey and the areas of agreement among the 4 basic groups represented in the poll: Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and those who voted for Obama. McLaughlin agreed that the base of 600 interviewed was smaller than the 1,000 he would have prefered, the survey itself had a margin of error of 4%. The areas of agreement, such as the threat posed by Iran, indicated an important area of partisan agreement--refreshing considering the multiple areas where Republicans and Democrats do not agree these days. There was similar agreement on concern for the security of Israel.

I asked a question on the use of polls not only as a measure of where people stand on the issues, but also as a tool to influence policy makers. McLaughlin indicated that on those areas where there was strong backing--where Americans were ahead of the Obama administration--there was the potential for influence on our leaders.

Check out for yourself the summary of the findings, and how the American public 'gets it'.

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