The poll found that nearly three in five respondents — 59% — backed Israel in the dispute that has now lasted more than three weeks, leaving hundreds dead and aligning much of the world in disagreement with the United States and Israel over whether to pursue an immediate cease-fire.The survey also found the public relatively unconcerned about potiential threats to civil liberties, arising, for example, out of the government's international bank monitoring program or through the National Security Agency's tracking of phone calls and e-mails.
President Bush has resisted such an agreement until Hezbollah is disarmed and an international peacekeeping force can be assembled, a position that is generally in line with public sentiment in the United States, according to the survey. Of respondents, 13% backed an immediate cease-fire, while 45% said the United States should work toward both sides accepting an international peacekeeping force.
"I feel badly for Israel. They don't run around looking for trouble, but they are constantly being harassed and attacked by Hezbollah," said Rick Poleck, 54, of Huntingdon, Pa., a poll respondent."
Suppose this was Mexico and they were lobbing missiles into the United States. How long would we put up with that?" asked Poleck, a Republican who works as an engineer for a rural electric facility. "How do you defeat a terrorist enemy without [people] getting hurt?"
The poll found that 43% said Israel's bombing campaign was justified but not excessively harsh, while 16% described the response as justified but excessive. Fewer than one in three respondents — 28% — said the response to Hezbollah was unjustified.
Although the poll was not designed to track day-to-day changes in public opinion, the sample size each day was large enough to reflect shifting attitudes toward events in the region and the increasingly aggressive moves by the Bush administration to secure an agreement through the United Nations.
On the first day of polling, a plurality of respondents — 46% — said the United States should not get involved in the conflict. But that changed over the course of the violent weekend, with far more backing the idea of the United States working toward a peace deal.
"I know that there's really nothing you can do with Hezbollah, but if the United States doesn't do anything, the whole Middle East is going to blow up," said poll respondent Pauline Fantroy, 68, a retired nurse who lives in New York City.
"Something has to be done," said Fantroy, a Democrat. "I would get them all in a room and bat their heads against a wall like two little kids."
Additionally, the results found President Bush with a 40 percent approval rating, and 50 percent of those polled approved of Bush's leadership in the global war on terror (results that place Bush closer to historical averages for second-term presidents, casting doubts, at least for now, on the claim made by many that Bush will go down as the worst president in history) .
Be sure to read the entire article. The results from this poll are a bit more reassuring than those from last week's New York Times poll, which showed rising isolationist tendencies regarding America's role in world affairs.