April 8, 2002
About 58 percent of Americans now believe Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is
a terrorist, up seven points from a separate poll taken recently. Last week, 51
percent said they thought Arafat was a terrorist, compared to just 17 percent
who thought he was not, according to pollster Scott Rasmussen of
“Apparently, Israel’s aggressive actions have not created a backlash of
sympathy for the Palestinian leader,” he said.
According to the poll, which was conducted for Fox News’ “Fox and Friends”
morning program April 5-6, 64 percent of men say Arafat is a terrorist while 52
percent of women share that view.
Politically, the GOP more identifies him as a terrorist than Democrats. Some 73
percent of Republicans surveyed called Arafat a terrorist while only 49 percent
of Democrats did. Fifty-one percent of unaffiliated Americans said he was.
More Americans also blame the Palestinians for the worsening violence in the
Mideast. According to Rasmussen’s survey of 1,000 adults, half say the
Palestinians are responsible for the violence while just 16 percent blame the
Israelis; 24 percent say both sides share responsibility.
A narrow majority of Americans – 46 percent – say the U.S. should let Israel and
the Palestinians work out a resolution to the current violence, while 40 percent
said the U.S. should impose a solution and force both sides to make concessions.
Most feel President Bush is handling the crisis well. Fifty-six percent say Bush is
doing a good or an excellent job while 23 percent say fair and 17 percent said
Bush’s approval numbers were the same in last week’s survey.
Meanwhile on Monday, two more Israeli Defense Force soldiers were killed and
three wounded in the Jenin refugee camp, shot dead by Palestinian gunmen,
Israeli reports said.
The Palestinians were members of the Islamic Jihad group, Israeli military
officials said, adding that some 30 Palestinian gunmen had been killed since the
invasion of the Jenin area began Friday.