Poll shows Israel is an important issue to US voters

On eve of midterms, 53% of US public say they're more likely to vote for pro-Israel candidate; 24% say less likely to vote for such candidate.

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October 11, 2010 02:02
2 minute read.
HOUSE MINORITY Leader John Boehner of Ohio

Boehner 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

With key US midterm elections less than a month away, a poll published Friday by the Emergency Committee for Israel showed that some 53 percent of the US public would be more likely to vote for a candidate perceived as pro-Israel, with 24% saying they would be less likely to vote for such a candidate.

Likewise, according to the poll, some 54% of the public said that even if they agreed with a candidate on “most other issues,” they could not vote for the candidate if he were “anti-Israel,” while 31% said they could do so.

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The ECFI was established in the summer as a type of right-wing counterbalance to J Street, and – according to the Politico website – united two major strands of Israel supporters: the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, and Evangelical Christians.

The new group’s board includes Weekly Standard editor William Kristol and Gary Bauer, the former Republican presidential candidate who leads the group American Values.

Since its establishment, the organization has taken out a number of aggressive television ads against Democratic candidates it perceives as weak on Israel. Among those targeted have been Pennsylvania Democratic senatorial hopeful Joe Sestak (backed by J Street), and incumbent congressmen Glenn Nye from Virginia and Jim Himes from Connecticut.

According to the McLaughlin & Associates poll carried out between October 3-5 among 1,000 potential voters, 48.2% of the respondents said they approved of the job US President Barack Obama was doing in handling America’s foreign policy, while 47.6% said they disapproved.

When it came to Obama’s handling of America’s relations with Israel, however, some 43.2% of the respondents said they approved, while 44.3% said they disapproved.

Furthermore, 43% said that Obama’s Middle East policies were harming Israel’s security, compared to 30% who said these policies were improving Israel’s security. Fiftytwo percent of the respondents said they agreed with the statement that Obama was less friendly to Israel than other presidents; 35% disagreed with that characterization.

On other issues, 78% of those polled said the Palestinians should recognize Israel as a Jewish state, while only 6% said they should not. And while 57% said Arab denial of Israel’s right to exist and terrorism were primarily responsible for the conflict, only 12% said the “presence of Jewish communities in the West Bank” was responsible.

The Prime Minister’s Office, which saw the poll, refused to comment on it.

During the tense days with the Obama administration earlier in the year, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was quoted as having said in some private meetings that Israel and the US enjoyed a unique relationship that transcended governments and was based on a deep affinity between the two peoples.


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