Editor’s note: This is another in a series of WND/WENZEL POLLS conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
Registered American voters fully expect there will be war in the Middle East – and soon – and they believe it will start with an Israeli strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to a new poll.
The survey taken by Wenzel Strategies by telephone Aug. 18-21, carrying a margin of error of 3.44 percentage points, indicates 61 percent believe the attack is likely or very likely. That includes 57 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of independents.
Only 21 percent said they think it is unlikely such an attack will occur. Eighteen percent said they are unsure.
“Iran has made it well known that they intend to destroy the nation of Israel, and it is no secret – except perhaps [to] international observers whose job it is to monitor and regulate such things – that they are also developing a nuclear weapons program to dominate the entire Middle East and perhaps to export destruction to the West through terror networks,” Fritz Wenzel, the president of Wenzel Strategies, told WND.
However, he said there is strong doubt that such an attack will come before the U.S. presidential election Nov. 6.
“While many believe an Israeli strike will take place, few think it will happen before the U.S. presidential election. Just 29 percent said they think the strike could occur before Nov. 6, while 58 percent said they think it is unlikely to happen soon,” Wenzel said. “Among those who said they believe the military strike will occur before the election, 46 percent said they think Barack Obama will benefit from the attack more than would [Mitt] Romney, while 30 percent said they think Romney would benefit more.”
Wenzel said those results are “interesting.”
“American likely voters in the survey also said they believe that Israeli leaders view Mitt Romney as a better friend to their nation than Barack Obama. While 45 percent said they think Israel sees Romney as a better friend, 39 percent said they think Israel sees Obama as better for them. Democrats and Republicans have a predictable split which favors their own party’s presidential candidate, but among independents, 49 percent believe Israeli leaders see Romney as a better friend, while just 32 percent said they think Obama is seen by Israel to be better for them,” Wenzel said.
He continued: “After a decade of war in the Middle East, it is understandable that Americans assume war there will continue indefinitely, expanding from time to time to include new nations. It’s also not surprising that so many Americans assume the next step in the wars there will include Israel and Iran, given Iran’s non-stop antipathy toward Israel.”
But he said the survey shows “Israel is far and away seen as the favored nation in this brewing conflict, as 80 percent said they hold a favorable opinion of Israel, compared to 11 percent who hold a negative opinion of it.”
“By comparison, just 8 percent said they hold a favorable view of Iran, compared to 87 percent who hold a negative opinion,” he noted.
The poll showed voters are split on the motivation that Israeli leaders might have for a pre-emptive attack on Iran. Forty-one percent said it will happen because Israel fears the U.S. will do nothing. Thirty-six percent said that wouldn’t be the reason.
“In terms of the impact of this issue on the American political landscape, neither presidential campaign can lose by voicing strong support for Israel,” Wenzel said poll results show.
“But this is largely intuitive, since Israel has long enjoyed strong support from the United States. What this survey data underscore is how many Americans assume Israel has lost faith in that U.S. backing,” he said.
“That four out of 10 believe Israel thinks it is on its own in dealing with Iran contrasts sharply with the finding that eight out of 10 have a favorable opinion of Israel and that, in choosing sides between Israel and Iran-backed Palestinian groups who have been waging a low-level war against Israel for years, 90 percent favor Israel,” Wenzel said.
He said the conclusion “is inescapable: Barack Obama, as leader of American foreign policy, is badly out of step with American voters, who in large measure are clearly voicing dismay that he has betrayed America’s most loyal ally in the region and one of the most important allies the United States has anywhere in the world.”
The poll also showed 5 percent of registered voters have a very favorable opinion of Palestinian groups, while 27 percent have a very unfavorable opinion.
See detailed answers to survey questions:
As you may know, it is widely believed by experts around the world that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program. Iranian leaders have repeatedly threatened to use military force, probably including nuclear force, to destroy the nation of Israel. Israel has said it will attack Iran to prevent that from happening. How likely to you think it is that Israel will launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran?
Thinking about all you know about leaders in Israel, how likely to you think it is that Israel will launch an attack on Iran because they fear the United States will do nothing to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons?