Posted on March 22, 2010 in Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rebecca Brown 202-429-9210 ext. 23

Zogby: Israel retains greater public support than the Palestinians but Americans display a deepening partisan divide on all questions related to the Middle East with Democrats holding strong negative views toward Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his current policies.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Members of Congress join the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference tonight it is interesting to note the latest polling data on American views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its impact on U.S. national security.

The results of a new poll from the Arab American Institute (AAI) show that Americans continue to identify with Israel over the Palestinians, however, their views on Israeli settlement policy and the impact of the conflict on U.S. interests are changing.

A plurality or slight majority believe:

  • That Israel’s settlement construction in the Occupied Territories should stop;
  • That it is time for the U.S. to “get tough” with Israel “to stop building settlements”;
  • That the U.S.’ “inability to prevent Israel’s settlement expansion makes the U.S. less respected in the world.”

“Our findings offer unique insights into a nuanced position that incorporates support for Israel but not at the expense of U.S. strategic interests,” said AAI President James Zogby. “Americans have made clear that they believe ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is important and view Israel’s role in advancing that goal as central to their view of the state and its leadership.”

The poll’s findings also highlight the deep partisan gap that continues to grow between Republicans and Democrats, with Democrats having an unfavorable rating of Israel for the first time.

 

  • 42% of Democrats had a favorable rating of Israel compared to 92% of Republicans resulting in a 50% gap between the parties.
  • While the gap is higher in this poll, the finding is consistent with a recent Gallup poll that had 53% of Democrats with a favorable view compared to 80% of Republicans.

An equally large gap exists when respondents were asked the question, “How should Obama conduct Middle East peace?”—with 73% of Democrats opting for “steer a middle course,” as opposed to 24% of Republicans.

“Members of Congress should follow the lead of the American people and articulate a U.S. policy that can ultimately best serve Americans, Israelis and Palestinians,” added Zogby.

The poll of 2,471 Americans (940 Democrats, 765 Republicans, 692 Independents and 74 Not Sure) was conducted March 17 – March 19 by Zogby International. The margin of error is ± 2.0%.

The 2010 survey of American attitudes toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be officially released on Thursday, March 25 at 1:30 pm at the New America Foundation. For more information, please contact Rebecca Brown at 202-429-9210.

 

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