Wall Street Journal: In new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 54% say U.S. should strike militarily if necessary to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Support reaches 62% if U.S. joins international coalition. The Wall Street Journal
By JOHN HARWOOD
September 15, 2006; Page A4
Voters talk tough on Iran’s nuclear program.
In new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 54% say U.S. should strike militarily if necessary to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Support reaches 62% if U.S. joins international coalition.
Military officials warn a successful strike might only set back Iran’s program, not halt it, and prompt Iranian retaliation in Iraq. But “even people who are for troop withdrawals” from Iraq back military action through a coalition, says Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducts Journal/NBC survey with Republican Bill McInturff.
Though Independents and Republicans would back unilateral strike, Democrats are opposed.
Democratic leaders remain elusive foils for Republican barbs.
Seven in 10 voters don’t know top Senate Democrat Reid or have no strong feelings about him; six in 10 say the same of House leader Pelosi, who Republican strategists call out of touch with mainstream. House Speaker Hastert is similarly anonymous.
Senate Majority Leader and 2008 hopeful Frist has better name recognition but split ratings, 21% positive and 23% negative. Voters cite deficit and Iraq policy as biggest fears if Republicans keep control of Congress, gridlock and premature Iraq withdrawal if Democrats take over.
Voters want Wal-Mart to face tougher government oversight.
After criticism from unions and liberal activists, 52% say companies like Wal-Mart “should be reviewed and regulated more” over adequacy of health and pension benefits. That includes majorities of women, Southerners, and rural voters; even 41% of conservatives agree.
By 50% to 45%, voters earning more than $75,000 a year say companies should set their own standards. The Midwest is most sympathetic to that view. Two-thirds of all voters say they’ve patronized the retailer in the last month.
Overall, Wal-Mart is rated positively by 45%-31%, though Target enjoys stronger image at 51%-10%.
DEMOCRATIC COMRADES: Kerry taps list of three million donors to boost fellow veteran-politicians. An email appeal yields more than $200,000 in 72 hours for Congressional candidates in New York, Pennsylvania and California. By 77%-17%, voters who backed Kerry two years ago favor reducing troops in Iraq.
DIPLOMAT IN CHIEF? Bush and Rice visit U.N. next week to prod allies for sanctions on Iran. Some 31% of voters rate Bush highly as “a world leader,” down from 36% a year ago and 49% before the Iraq war.
TAX TACTIC: Republicans weigh new gambit for cutting estate taxes. They might add measure to government funding resolution before leaving Washington for October campaigning. Among voters earning $30,000 or less, just one-third approve Bush’s handling of the economy and back Republicans for Congress.
NOT COMPLAINING: Despite controversy over imprisonment and interrogation of detainees, 54% of voters credit Bush administration with “the right course,” while only 34% say administration has “gone too far.” But by 51%-41%, voters oppose terror trials where suspects couldn’t attend or view evidence.
Voters fault corporations, more than Washington, for widening income inequality.
Three in ten blame “excessive salaries and bonuses” for gap between highest-income workers and others. Another 26% say overseas competition, twice the 12% who cite Bush administration and Congress.
Tracking Democratic rhetoric, voters show increasing concern about the gap; one in four call it America’s biggest economic problem, virtually matching the share who say energy costs. In international economic speech, Treasury Secretary Paulson says narrowing disparities is “the responsibility of all nations.”
By 47%-36%, voters rate Bush poorly for “being compassionate enough to understand average people.”
MINOR MEMOS: State whips Pentagon in battle of bureaucratic chiefs; Rice’s positive rating rises to 55% from 48% in May 2004, while Rumsfeld’s falls to 31% from 39%. Cheney’s 50% negative rating exceeds that of both administration colleagues.