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Old 01-01-2009, 08:44 AM
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Americans Closely Divided Over Gaza Attack

Americans Closely Divided Over Israelís Gaza Attacks
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Rasmussen Reports

Americans, while far more sympathetic to Israel than the Palestinians, are closely divided over whether the Jewish state should be taking military action against militants in the Gaza Strip.

Forty-four percent (44%) say Israel should have taken military action against the Palestinians, but 41% say it should have tried to find a diplomatic solution to the problems there, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of adults, however, believe the Palestinians are to blame for the current situation in Gaza, while 13% point the finger at the Israelis. Nearly one-third (32%) arenít sure.

Men are far more sympathetic to the Israelis than women. Fifty-six percent (56%) of men support Israelís military action, compared to 34% of women. Whites narrowly give the edge to military action, but African-Americans by three-to-one say diplomacy was the better way to go.

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of those who say they are following news out of Gaza Very Closely support Israel's military action, while 30% favor diplomacy.

While the Bush administration is viewed as a solid ally of Israel, the new findings signal a possible shift in Washingtonís support for Tel Aviv under President Obama.

Just after the election, 47% of voters said Obama will do a good or excellent job handling national security issues. Thirty-four percent (34%) expected him to handle those issues poorly.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of Republicans back Israelís decision to take military action against the Palestinians, but only half as many Democrats (31%) agree. A majority of Democrats (55%) say Israel should have tried to find a diplomatic solution first, a view shared by just 27% of Republicans.

While 75% of Republicans say Israel is an ally of the United States, just 55% of Democrats agree. Seven percent (7%) of Democrats say Israel is an enemy of America, but only one percent (1%) of Republicans say the same. For 21% of Republicans, Israel is somewhere in between, and 28% of Democrats agree.

Just over half of adults (51%) fear Israelís actions will cause more terrorism against the United States, with 17% saying that is Very Likely to be the case. Nine percent (9%) believe that future terrorist attacks on America are not at all likely because of Israelís attacks on Gaza this week.

Those who say they have followed the news out of the Gaza Strip Very Closely are slightly more concerned about increased terrorism at home, with 20% saying it is Very Likely as a result of Israelís actions.

Nearly three-out-of-five voters (59%) say a terrorist attack in the United States like the one Thanksgiving week in India is at least somewhat likely in the next year. Most voters expect terrorists or Iran to provide Obama with his first international test.

The Israelis began heavy air attacks on the Gaza Strip on Saturday in retaliation for the radical group Hamasí continued firing of missiles and mortars into Israel. Nearly 400 Palestinians, including women and children, have been killed in the attacks thus far, and the Israelis, now mobilizing for a land invasion of the area, have rejected international calls for a cease-fire. Hamas, the most outspokenly militant Palestinian group, has suffered numerous casualties and lost many of its facilities but is now firing longer-range missiles into Israel.

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