Although there’s been a fair bit of discussion about the Newspoll showing that 65 per cent of people thought the war in Iraq had increased the danger of a terrorist attack in Australia, the really striking result was ignored. This concerned the proportion of people who accepted the government’s stated belief that the invasion of Iraq had reduced the danger of terrorist attack. Only 1 per cent of respondents said that the invasion had made a terrorist attack less likely, and less than 0.5 per cent said it made an attack a lot less likely. You can read the details here (PDF file). This is substantially less than the proportion of people who are reported (in other surveys) to believe that Elvis is alive or that aliens are controlling government policy.
fn1. The question doesn’t distinguish between the interpretations “the Iraq war has raised Australia’s profile as a target” and “the Iraq war has increased the risk of terrorism everywhere”. I have previously argued that the latter view is the right one.
Update By complete coincidence, this story in the Oz reports that, in polls for the mayoral election in the Gold Coast, an Elvis ‘tribute artist’ has 8 per cent support. OK, it’s in Queensland, but 8 per cent is still a lot more than 0.5.