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Friday, August 11, 2006

Confusing polls

This is a small country and they take a lot of polls. Personally, I hang up the phone on pollsters as fast as I hang it up on telemarketers. We have more and more of those here too and there's no such thing as a "no call" list like in the US.

Anyway, YNet is running a Dahaf poll today whose results have to be among the more confusing I have ever seen. Consider the following:

Some 73 percent said the government's management of the issue was "not good," and only a quarter said the government's treatment of the home front was "good."

With that, the public has given high grades to the government for its management of the war and the functioning of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and Chief of Staff Dan Halutz.

Some 66 percent of the public believes Olmert's role has been "good" (compared to 31 percent who say it was "not good) and 59 percent said Peretz's functioning has been "good" (compared to 38 percent who said the reverse).

Halutz won the widest support, with 67 percent saying he was performing well, and just 21 percent saying he was not performing satisfactorily.

The poll also found that 64 percent of the public believes that the IDF should enter Lebanon until the Litani river with large forces.


With that, 40 percent of the public thin the war will end "in a draw" – meaning that Hizbullah will be damaged, but not destroyed. Some 37 percent think Israel will win and that Hizbullah will be banished from the border, and 17 percent believe that the IDF will withdraw and that the Hizbullah will return.

After 30 days of difficult fighting in the north, Israelis still feel that "the nation is the army."

Ten percent of respondents said they did not trust the army. The carrying on of fighting did not harm faith of the people in the army – 57 percent said their trust in the IDF has not changed, 23 percent said their faith in the army has strengthened, and 19 percent said their faith in the military was shaken.

At the same time, the Israeli public is not completely sure about how the war is being run up to now. 45 percent of those asked said that until now, the fighting has not been handled well, while 48 percent said fighting was being managed in a good way.

Looking backwards, 75 percent of the public said they believed leaving Lebanon was the right thing to do, while 20 percent think it was a mistake.
Now can someone please explain this to me? 73% think the government's management of the home front is not good, but 66% think Olmert's performance is good? Then who messed up on the home front? "The buck stops here," as Harry Truman used to say. Olmert is responsible!

64% thinks that we should go to the Litani River, but 40% of the country thinks it will be a draw anyway? (My own view on that is that if we had gone all the way at the outset we could have destroyed Hezbullah, and I believe the IDF still can do that, but I don't believe our political leadership has the courage to do it). What do the 40% who think it will be "draw" think will happen to Hezbullah? (I'd bet that they'll be back in southern Lebanon faster than you can say "Mahmoud Ahmadinadinnerjacket"). 48% think the war has been handled well? Do these people read the papers? Listen to the news?

But here's the best one: 75% think that leaving Lebanon was the right thing to do. Ehud Barach (the misspelling was intentional - the Hebrew word "barach" (with that funny sound at the end that all you non-Jews can't make) means "ran away" or "fled") should be quite pleased with that wherever he is hiding out these days. We haven't heard from him since the first day of the war! What are these people smoking and where can I get some?

(For those who are new, Ehud Barak was the Prime Minister who unilaterally withdrew our troops from Lebanon in 2000, triggering the 2000-04 hostilities between Israel and the 'Palestinians' that are variously known as the '[second] intifadeh,' the 'Oslo War' or 'Arafat's War').

But here's the only almost sensible (albeit way too populist) finding in the poll - unfortunately, it doesn't fit in with any of the others:
In an additional poll initiated by reserve soldiers who lost comrades to anti-tank missile attacks, 91 percent of the Israeli public thinks that the IDF must destroy Lebanese villages through aerial attacks, and only eight percent think that ground troops should be sent to the south of the country.
I'm all in favor of flattening villages in southern Lebanon like the allies did to Dresden in World War II. But we don't have enough bunker busters now to root out all the terrorists who are underground without sending ground troops in there.

If I felt that the decisions to send ground troops or bomb from the air were being made by the army and were based on professional considerations, I'd feel a lot more comfortable with them. Unfortunately, they're being made at the political level and as such, non-military considerations are getting in the way.

More poll news here.


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