Furthermore, if the polling is to be believed, Russia, a recognized global military power armed with nuclear weapons, was actually found to pose less of a threat than Syria, a country situated thousands of miles from the US and mired in a long and bloody civil conflict. 60% of those polled said that Russia poses a "long-term military threat," 14% responded that Russia poses an "immediate" military threat, and, "just 23% said Russia is not a military threat."
According to the WSJ, "the poll results help explain the hawkish foreign policy positions being articulated on the 2016 presidential campaign trail," with virtually all candidates, Republican and Democrat alike (with a couple exceptions, including Republicans Rand Paul and Donald Trump) pledging "a tougher stance" in relation to both Russia and Syria.
However, comments to the WSJ's article suggest there may be something fishy with the figures.
A user named Peter angrily commented: "This is ridiculous. No one I know thinks Russia or Syria are 'threats' to the average citizen in the United States…I'd like to know how [the pollsters] compiled their list, because these opinions are out of left field."
Another user joked that apparently, "fear sells and Halloween is almost here. Russian and Syrian disguises are popular" this year.
In a somewhat humorous turn of events, a lone Russian commentator named Dmitry joined the fray, making a very diplomatic proposal: "Hello Comrads! No one in Russia wants to war vs USA. NATO is not a target for us, but a threat. We want to cooperate, not fight. Let's all live in peace and respect each other!"
So stupid, how does Syria threaten America? Russia a threat? These people must work for the DOD!! https://t.co/aclWK7DGlp— Chung Fu (@bfranz917) 20 октября 2015
So, what is it with this WSJ/NBC poll? Does the average Joe really believe that Russia, or even more preposterously, Syria, poses a threat to Americans?