Americans tied their all-time highest levels of support for Israel in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
A Gallup poll published Tuesday demonstrates that 64% of the American public sympathize more with Israelis in the ongoing dispute with their neighbors, while only 19% lean toward the Palestinians.
This tied 2013 and 1991 for the highest support Israel has ever received in the 30 years that Gallup has run this poll. The survey confirmed that it is the constantly growing number of Republicans that tilt the percentages this way, as fully 87% of those who identified as members of the party came down on Israel’s side – a new high. The next highest pro-Israel group were Independents, who have basically held steady at about 59% for the last decade.
Democrats’ preference for Israel lagged far behind their counterparts across the aisle in Congress, at 49%. The gap is especially large now, but the party of Roosevelt, Clinton and Obama has consistently displayed less support for the Jewish state, with their all-time low being 41% in 2005 (a year when 73% of Republicans backed Israel).
“Republicans have consistently shown greater support than Democrats for Israel, partly because of conservative Christian’s beliefs about the biblical significance of Israel,” the polling research company said in its report.
“Another key factor in the especially wide gap since 2002 is likely Israel’s strong backing of the United States at the start of the Iraq War in 2003 and the strong support that Republican President George W. Bush showed for the Jewish state.”
Support for the Palestinians hasn’t changed much since 1988, the year of the first poll. Then, 15% supported them more, while the highest backing they received was 20%, back in 2007.
What may be a very important finding to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is that when asked who the United States should pressure more to resolve the conflict, the report says that Americans are about twice as likely to say the U.S. should put more pressure on the Palestinians (50%) than on the Israelis (27%).
It should be noted that although fewer than half of Democrats polled supported Israel in the conflict, 64% of them view Israel favorably in terms of their current general opinion of the country. Overall, a full 74% of American adults view Israel favorably, while only 23% view it unfavorably. This is almost the exact opposite of their opinion on the Palestinians, which is 21% favorable to 71% unfavorable.
A point the report brought out was that the older the people surveyed, the more they liked Israel and the less they liked the Palestinians. This is consistent with other organizations’ recent polling which also displayed a generation gap that has elicited concern on the part of various Jewish groups that have called for a concerted effort to educate younger adults on the issues at hand.