POLL OF THE DAY….In Gallup’s latest Presidents’ Day poll, both FDR and George Washington are beaten out by Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and John F. Kennedy. Crikey. And people complain about kids being historically illiterate?

So instead here’s your real poll for the day. To be honest, there’s not that much to say about it. PIPA polled people in a bunch of different countries about whether tensions between Islam and the West are mostly political or mostly cultural, and it turns out that most people in most countries thought they were political. This is, roughly speaking, good news, since political issues are more amenable to compromise than cultural issues.

The main thing that struck me, though, was the dog that didn’t bark in the night. Usually on polls like this the United States is something of an outlier, but this time we’re smack in the middle: 49% think that East-West tensions are primarily political. That’s toward the low end of the global spectrum, but not by a lot. Here’s Marc Lynch’s comment, after appearing on the BBC Newshour to discuss the poll:

On the BBC show, I warned against reading this as meaning that the differences are “just” political, though: the fears and critiques of American hegemonic aspirations in the Muslim world is becoming universal and deep enough to transcend easy political solutions, as important as those political causes are; and even small minorities are easily capable of exploiting existing mistrust and fears. But overall the general thrust of the BBC report offers some rare good news, and holds out some hope that good sense might still prevail on this question in much of the world.

So that’s your semi-good news for the day. Enjoy.

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