John Daley reporting A solid percentage of Utahns think Yasser Arafat's condition actually increases the chance for peace in the Middle East. That's one of the findings of an exclusive new Eyewitness News poll by Survey USA.
Things are always volatile in the Middle East, but right now the region appears to be approaching a crossroads. And in an exclusive SurveyUSA poll for Eyewitness News, both the battle of Falluja and life after Arafat has a decent percentage of Utahns at least somewhat optimistic.
In an exclusive new poll for Eyewitness News by Survery USA, we asked what Arafat's condition does for the chance of peace in the Middle East.
37% say it increases the chance for peace, 26% say it decreases chances, and 28% say it makes no difference.
Still, in the short run, Utahns are prepared for disruptions--29% say things will be more stable in the short run, but 44% say Arafat's condition brings less short-term stability to the Middle East.
On Iraq, we asked over the time the U.S. has had its military there, do you think Iraq has become more or less dangerous? 37 percent say more, but 44 percent say the U.S. military presence has made Iraq less dangerous. 17percent say it has stayed the same.
Steven Komarow/ USA Today Correspondent: "Right now, it's a chaotic time there. It's a hard time there."
"We are really at an interesting juncture. I'd say probably for the long term, the Arafat situation is more important than Falluja."
"We've built it up to be a huge deal. But I don't know that clearing out Falluja is going to change things in Iraq. We'll have to wait and see."
Nissa Roper/ Westminster College Freshman: "I think it's going to be a major conflict and it's something we should all keep an eye on."
Zirkin/ Westminster Professor: "I think it's going to mean more turmoil, because he has been so careful not to pick a successor."
"For every person who dies, we create more people who hate what we're doing."
Charlie Ehin/ Westminster College Professor: "It should help. I think it's another opportunity, if we take advantage of it."
"It's a hornet's nest. You try to fix something here and something else goes awry in some other place."
Those over 55 years old are clearly more pessimistic about Iraq. In our Survey USA poll, well over half of those polled in that group think things in Iraq are getting more dangerous. That's roughly 20 percent higher than those younger than 55.