A new poll has shown that 70% of Americans view Israel favorably, and 62% say they sympathize more with the Israelis than the Palestinians in the Mideast conflict. By contrast, only 17% currently view the Palestinian Authority (PA) favorably, and 16% of Americans sympathize more with the Palestinian Arabs.
These results, from Gallup’s World Affairs survey, conducted during February 8-11, 2015, are unchanged from a year ago, suggesting that neither the evident friction between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, nor the 50-day conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip last year, greatly affected how each is perceived in the U.S.
Republican support for the Jewish state has increased considerably over the past 15 years, rising from 53% in 2000 to more than 80% since 2014, while only 7% of Republican supporters choosing the PA. Democrats’ support for Israel has also risen since 2000, though not as markedly, to 48% this year (Lydia Saad, ‘Seven in 10 Americans Continue to View Israel Favorably,’ Gallup, February 23, 2015).
These results are consistent with numerous other polls conducted in recent years which find high support for Israel among the American public, including favoring Israel over the Palestinian Arabs by large margins:
- February 2015 CNN/ORC poll, conducted by Paragon Insights, 52% of Americans believe that the U.S. should support Israel (26% say “strongly support”), whereas only 11% believe it should support the Palestinians (3% say “strongly support”).
- February 2013 Gallup poll found that Americans favor Israel over the Palestinians by 64% to 12%. This is the highest pro-Israel finding by Gallup since the Persian Gulf war in 1991, when Americans favored Israel over the Palestinians by 64% to 7%, while pro-Israel sentiment has been found by Gallup to consistently exceed 60% since 2010.
- September 2012 Foreign Policy Initiative poll found that a strong majority of Americans (70%) view Israel favorably as opposed to 24% who view it unfavorably. When asked in an open-ended question to name the country that is “America’s best ally in the world today”, Israel (15.9%) came second only to the United Kingdom (54.0%).
- February 2012 Gallup poll: Israel has an near all-time high popularity rating among Americans of 71%, in line with high ratings for other traditional American allies. Israel’s “very favorable” rating (29%) was the highest in the past 23 years, while its overall favorable rating was the highest since 1991 (when it was 79% just after the First Gulf War).
- August 2011 McLaughlin Associates & Caddell Associates national survey 71% of Americans believe that Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel, as opposed to a mere 9% who believe that the U.S. should force Israel to cede parts of Jerusalem, including Christian and Jewish holy sites, to the Palestinian Authority. 82% of Americans believe that Palestinians must recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state before obtaining statehood, as opposed to a mere 7% who disagree. 66% of Americans believe that Iran would attack Israel with nuclear weapons once it obtains them, as against 13% who believe otherwise.
- May 2011 CNN Poll: 67% of Americans express sympathy for Israel rather than Palestinians, whereas only 16% expressed sympathy for Palestinians over Israelis. (This represents a rise of sympathy for Israel among the American public from 60%, and a drop of sympathy for Palestinians from 17% recorded in 2009). 67% of Americans view Israel favorably (23% very favorably, 42% somewhat favorably) as against 33% of Americans who do not (24% somewhat unfavorably, 9% very unfavorably). An overwhelming 82% of Americans regard Israel as either a U.S. friend or ally (44% regard Israel as an ally, 38% regard it as a friend), as opposed to a mere 17% who regard it as unfriendly or an enemy (12% regard it as unfriendly, a mere 5% as an enemy). 65% of Americans say the United States should not take either side in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, while, among the rest of the public, 35% say the U.S. should take Israel’s side, while just a mere 1% favors backing the Palestinians.
(A further selection of similar poll results from 2009-2010 can be found here).