Poll finds sense of personal security 'surprisingly high'

The war seems to have strengthened public support for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Although the North is under attack, the vast majority of Israelis feel surprisingly "very or reasonably secure," according to a new Smith Institute poll. In fact, according to the results of the August 2 survey, not only is there a general sense of security, but that sense has actually been rising - from 65 percent of the public on July 17, to 68% on August 2. While these results obviously could not be attributed to the barrages of Katyushas, Hanoch Smith of the Smith Institute said the sense of security stems from "confidence in the army" at times of crisis. The war also seems to have strengthened public support for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, with 71% backing his "handling of the security situation," 4% more than in the July 17 survey. Support for Defense Minister Amir Peretz is also high, at 62%. Disagreement with the policies of the premier is only 27%, while disagreement with Peretz is at 31%. According to Smith, these results emanate from the fact that "our country is embattled," which "increases patriotism," and because "leaders carry the population with them in crises." Yet this survey is not by any means the embodiment of the leaders' fantasies. Only 37% said they believed that Israel would "realize all or most of the goals it defined for itself," while 42% believed it would realize only some of them, and 11% thought very few of the government's early goals would be fulfilled. Half of respondents opposed a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank, 36% supported it and the remainder took no position. The poll was conducted among a representative sample of 500 Israelis of voting age. The margin of error was 4.5%.