Commentary Magazine


Re: A Telling Poll

John McLaughlin, CEO of McLaughlin & Associates, held a bloggers conference call this afternoon regarding the foreign policy poll Jennifer Rubin ably analyzed yesterday. The call was organized by One Jerusalem.

McLaughlin said that the poll demonstrates the public is “way out in front” of the country’s political leadership on issues relating to Iran and nuclear terrorism. A total of 91% of likely voters think Iran supplying a nuclear umbrella for terrorists is a serious threat — a finding that runs across the political spectrum (95% of Republicans, 89% of Democrats, and 89% of Independents). A total of 79% think it likely Iran would provide nuclear weapons to terrorists to attack an American city (85% Republicans, 72% Democrats, and 79% Independents).

A total of 60% would approve blockading imports of gasoline and food to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon (72% Republicans, 54% Democrats, and 52% Independents). Military action by either Israel or the U.S. commands clear majority support from both Republicans (70%) and Independents (60%), and plurality support (45%) from Democrats.

According to McLaughlin, while there are some expected divergences of opinion between the various political subgroups in the United States, what is most striking is the broad consensus in the poll about the seriousness of the situation with Iran and the necessity for strong action to resolve it, particularly after the contentious foreign policy debates of the last few years.

The poll did not ask whether respondents thought there is a link between confronting Iran and pursuing a two-state solution, but the question undoubtedly would have been superfluous: the respondents do not think a two-state solution will solve even the Israeli-Palestinian problem, much less help deal with Iran. By a margin of 60-18, respondents believe if Palestinians were given a state, they would not live peacefully with Israel but continue their efforts to destroy it.

The poll was a national survey of 600 likely voters conducted on May 8-9, with statistical accuracy of +/- 4% at a 95% confidence interval. McLaughlin said increasing the sample to 1,000 people would have improved its accuracy only to +/- 3%. He noted that, since the poll was taken, Iran launched a long-range missile and the FBI broke up a Muslim terrorist attack in the U.S. — so it seems unlikely the percentages have gone down.

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