Where DO Americans Stand on Israel?

US-Israel Flags CapitolA new poll has just been released, looking at American views on Israel and the Palestinians, and I thought the results worth sharing.
So I joined a conference call with prominent political pollster Neil Newhouse to review the results.
The upshot is that American support for Israel continues to hold very strong.
Just take a look at the answers to these questions:
How favorable do you feel toward _____?

  • 51% of the population is favorable toward Israel
  • 16% of the population is favorable toward the Palestinians

(Incidentally, only 8% of the population is favorable toward Iran – with 67% unfavorable.)
In the ongoing conflict, should the United States support Israel or the Palestinians?

  • 58% think America should support Israel
  • 6% think America should support the Palestinians

The level of support for Israel is 7% higher than in January, rising to the highest levels of support since October 2009.
Support for Israel has also grown significantly across all party lines from as recently as 4 months ago, making significant gains among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Among the different party affiliations, the belief that America should support Israel has actually grown most among Democrats, showing a 14% rise over the past 4 months.
We also see that every single age group supports America siding with Israel, with even the youngest voters breaking for Israel by a 34% margin.
In addition,

  • 61% believe Israel is making efforts to achieve peace
  • 53% believe the Palestinians are making “not much” or “no” effort for peace

The poll also addressed the relatively new question of the potential unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.

  • 51% of Americans oppose the Palestinians unilaterally declaring a state
  • Only 31% of Americans support such an action

In addition,

  • 54% think the United States should not recognize a unilaterally-declared Palestinian state, without a signed peace treaty with Israel
  • Only 33% think the US should recognize such a state

And lest anyone think this issue splits along party lines, voters across all party identifications – Democrat, Republican, and Independent – all had far greater numbers opposing a unilateral Palestinian state than supportive of it, and all groups broke against the U.S. recognizing such a state without a peace deal with Israel.
This solid public opposition to a unilateral declaration of statehood by the Palestinians is being echoed in the statements being made by leaders in both major parties. Current Ambassador to the U.N., Democrat Susan Rice, said earlier this week:

“The tough issues between Israelis and Palestinians can be resolved only by direct negotiations between the parties, not in New York,” (referring to U.N. headquarters there).

On the other side of the aisle, Republican Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL) said in remarks in the House,

“I ask that the U.S. do all we can to ensure that the Palestinian lobby does not gain member status in the U.N. before negotiating a true peace with our ally Israel.”

Overall, support for Israel among Americans is strong, and rising, across all regions, age groups, and political party affiliations. A unilateral Palestinian state, on the other hand, seems to be a non-starter among Americans, with very little support for the idea across the board.
So if Congress and the President seek to represent the folks back home, I’d say we can easily see which way the public wants them to go.

Incidentally, if you are interested in receiving information on similar polls in the future, The Israel Project regularly publishes poll results on American and European attitudes toward Israel. You can find information on their website, or subscribe to their RSS feed here.

Note for accuracy in reporting: this poll included a representative sample of 800 registered voters.If you would like to see the detailed sample breakdowns, by age, income, gender, party affiliation, and ethnic group, please post your request in the comments, and I will share those numbers (for the statisticians’ eyes only).