Poll: Americans approve of Bush's handling of Mideast
(CNN) -- A new poll released Monday finds that more than half of Americans view the Israeli military incursions against Palestinian locations as "legitimate acts of war," and an overwhelming majority approve of the tough approach President Bush has taken with both sides in the Mideast conflict.
But fewer than half of those questioned in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll believe Bush has a clear policy on the Mideast conflict.
Even fewer believe Secretary of State Colin Powell will be successful in negotiating a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Only 39 percent believe it is likely Powell will be able to help both sides reach an agreement.
Israel fared better in the poll than did the Palestinians or their leader.
Seven of 10 of Americans polled described the Palestinian suicide bombings as terrorism and nearly six in 10 of those polled said Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is an enemy of the United States.
Sympathy for Israel has gone up significantly since early March, but most Americans said the United States should not take sides in the conflict and fewer than half of Americans believe the Israeli actions in the past few days are justified, with 39 percent describing those actions as terrorism.
Only one in five Americans believe the recent Palestinian actions are justified and almost three-quarters of Americans believe the Palestinians should stop the suicide bombing attacks no matter what Israel does. Sixty percent of Americans also believe Israel should stop its military action no matter what the Palestinians do.
As for U.S. support for Israel, 35 percent of Americans said it was too much, 46 percent said it was about right and 10 percent said the U.S. was not showing enough support for the Jewish state.
Over two-thirds of Americans are concerned that suicide bombers might strike the United States because of the situation in the Mideast. Forty-three percent said it was somewhat likely and 27 percent said it was very likely the United States would be attacked.
However, almost three-quarters said dropping support for Israel would not lessen the chance of a terrorist attack.
A majority of Americans -- 71 percent -- disapprove of sending U.S. troops to the Mideast before a peace agreement, but that disapproval rating drops to 48 percent for U.S. peacekeeping troops being dispatched to the region should an agreement be reached.
Even so, 41 percent believe it is very likely and 40 percent believe it is somewhat likely that U.S. troops will be put into combat situations in the Mideast.
Similar numbers -- 39 percent very likely and 43 percent somewhat likely -- came when those questioned were asked about the possibility of a war between Israel and Arab countries.
Americans apparently believe an oil embargo is less likely than fighting. About one quarter of those polled said the possibility of Arab countries imposing such an embargo against the United States was very likely, while 41 percent said it was somewhat likely and almost a third said it was not likely.
The results of the poll were determined from answers given by 1,009 Americans surveyed April 5-7.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3-5 percentage points.