WASHINGTON – More than half of Americans think an Israeli attack on Iran would leave the US in a worse strategic position, according to a new poll.

Fifty-five percent believe such an attack would put America in a poorer position and 32% believe it would be about the same, with only 8% believing it would be better, according to a poll by Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland.

Additionally, 70% expect that in the case of an Israeli strike Iran would attack US bases (23% think they wouldn’t) and 86% expect the price of oil would “drastically increase” (9% say that’s unlikely).

On balance, 53% think the US should take a neutral posture on an Israeli strike, 29% think the US should actively discourage that action, and just 12% think the US should encourage an Israeli strike.

“The bottom line,” according to Telhami, “You can see it across Republican and Democrats, that middle category of neutral stance, actually holding for Democrats, Republicans and independents equally.”

The survey, unveiled at the Brookings Institution on Monday, surveyed 737 Americans in the wake of the anti-American protests in the Middle East to get a sense of how the events in the region affected US attitudes toward the region. The poll had a +/-4.6 margin of error.

The survey also found that a plurality of Americans (42%) want aid to Egypt decreased, but the rest were nearly equally split over ending it altogether (29%) or keeping it the same (25%). A mere 1% wanted the aid to be increased. However, American opinion about Egypt has dropped significantly since April 2011, with only 39% of Americans now holding a positive view of the country as opposed to 60% right after the revolution.

However, Telhami pointed out that the drop occurred before the recent protests at the US embassy in Egypt, and tracks with a drop in public perceptions of Turkey.

In terms of the violence that killed a US ambassador combined with spiraling demonstrations throughout the region in September, the poll found that about two-thirds of Americans attribute these activities to “extremist minorities” rather than majorities of the population.

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