December 26, 2012

Israel Support in U.S. Unchanged in Wake of Gaza Conflict

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The number of Americans sympathizing with Israel is five times greater than those siding with the Palestinians.

For decades, the public has sympathized with Israel over the Palestinians and that remains the case today. Overall, five times more Americans sympathize with Israel than the Palestinians. In a survey conducted after last month’s conflict between Israel and Hamas forces in Gaza, 50% said they sympathize more with Israel, compared with just 10% who said they sympathize more with the Palestinians. Almost a quarter (23%) did not offer an opinion while 13% volunteered that they sympathize with neither side, and 4% said both. In May, 48% sided with Israel compared to 11% who backed the Palestinians.

There continue to be stark partisan differences in Middle East sympathies. Conservative Republicans maintain strong support for Israel, with fully 75% saying they sympathize with Israel compared with just 2% who sympathize with the Palestinians. By contrast, liberal Democrats are much more divided: 33% sympathize more with Israel, 22% with the Palestinians. Independents sympathize more with Israel by a 47% to 13% margin.

Among religious groups, white evangelical Protestants remain strongly supportive of Israel. Two-thirds (67%) say they sympathize more with Israel; only 5% say they sympathize more with the Palestinians. Opinion among other religious groups is more mixed. Catholics, for example, offer more sympathy for Israel than the Palestinians by a 44% to 11% margin. Read more