Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
A series of polls released over the last few weeks shows most Americans believe a global conflict is raging between Islam and the West.
Specifically, Rasmussen Reports polls found that 63 percent of likely U.S. voters believe a battle is brewing, while only 18 percent deny the divide.
Furthermore, when asked about many Western nations’ support of the populist uprisings known as “the Arab Spring,” only 26 percent of voters think the United States should do more to encourage the growth of democracy in the Islamic world, while 58 percent say the United States should leave things alone.
The numbers became even more significant when separating mainstream U.S. voters from a group Rasmussen calls the “political class.”
For example, Rasmussen found that 73 percent of mainstream U.S. voters believe there is a conflict in the world between Western civilization and Islamic nations, and a plurality (49 percent) believe most of the world’s Muslims view America as an enemy.
But only half of Rasmussen’s “political class” acknowledges a global conflict, and 62 percent reject the idea that Muslims view the U.S. as an enemy.
Similarly, 61 percent of mainstream voters suspect a terrorist attack in the U.S. in the next year is likely, while 70 percent of the political class see little or no chance of such an attack.
Rasmussen found that taken as a whole, however, only 11 percent of likely U.S. voters think the war on terror is over, while 79 percent say that war, declared after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America, is still ongoing.
Rasmussen explains it defines “political class” as the subset of Americans whose answers to poll questions reveal they look primarily to governing elite – rather than the American people – to best rule the nation.
The “political class,” therefore, isn’t actually composed of D.C. and Wall Street insiders, but Rasmussen explains, “Experience has shown that political class voters share the views and attitudes of the elites they support. … In many cases, the gap between the mainstream view and the political class is larger than the gap between mainstream Republicans and Democrats.”
Furthermore, Rasmussen says, “In the clique that revolves around Washington, D.C., and Wall Street … some see self-governance as little more than allowing voters to choose which of two politicians will rule over them. Others in that elite environment are even more brazen and see self-governance as a problem to be overcome.”
The polling firm states that when leaners are included, 91 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of unaffiliated voters fall into the “mainstream” category; the rest – a total of nine percent of all voters – fall into the “political class.”
On the issue of international Islamic relations, Rasmussen found 80 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of unaffiliated believe there is a global conflict today between Western civilization and the Islamic world. Just 46 percent of Democrats agreed.
There’s little partisan disagreement, however, when it comes to what the United States should do about it, Rasmussen found: Majorities of all three groups say America should stop fueling the Arab Spring that has already toppled several more secular governments in the Muslim world.
Statistics were compiled from three surveys conducted in the last four weeks, each polling 1,000 likely U.S. voters.