Posted on September 04, 2012 in Reports

Executive Summary

New polling on American attitudes toward to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict show sharp differences in opinion between political parties and age groups.

Conducted in August 2012, the poll shows:

  • A plurality of Americans (40%) believe U.S. policy should steer a "middle course" between Israelis and Palestinians.
  • A plurality (34%) also supports the Palestinian right of return, but Americans are evenly divided on the issue of settlements and the future status of Jerusalem.
  • Surprisingly high numbers of Americans (20-58%) are unsure or have no opinion on most issues. There is strong bipartisan support for the idea that Israelis and Palestinians are "equal people entitled to equal rights," and 43% support a two-state peace plan, a shared Jerusalem, the evacuation of most settlements, and a Palestinian right of return to the new Palestinian state. Only 14% oppose such a plan.

Democrats are more likely to advocate a "middle course" in U.S. policy between Israeli and Palestinian needs, more likely to support the Palestinian Right of Return and a shared Jerusalem, believe in tougher U.S. policy toward illegal settlement construction.

Republicans advocate leaning toward Israel in Middle East policymaking, are more likely to find U.S. and Israeli interests identical, and are less likely to believe that Israelis and Palestinians are "equal people entitled to equal rights." Democrats and youth 18-29 are aligned on almost all issues, as are Republicans and seniors 65+, except for the issue of dismantling Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Americans across all demographics express growing ambiguity or unfamiliarity with the issues; half have no opinion on the Right of Return, the final status of Jerusalem, or the appropriate U.S. response to settlements. The high number of unsure/no opinion responses (more than double the 2010 figures for some questions) may be a result of the decreasing prominence of Israeli-Palestinian peace overtures over the past two years.

Download the Poll Download the PDF

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