Benjamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama and Mahmoud Abbas.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Only 16 percent of Israelis believe US President Barack Obama’s administration is more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian, according to a Smith Research poll taken Wednesday night, exclusively for The Jerusalem Post.
The poll of 500 respondents representing a statistical sample of the adult Israeli Jewish population was taken following a report in The Atlantic in which officials close to Obama were quoted sharply criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and calling him “chickenshit.”
The report resulted in a major backlash among Israelis and in criticism of Obama across the political spectrum. Smith Research has asked Israelis in 11 Jerusalem Post polls throughout Obama’s tenure whether his administration is more pro-Israel, more pro-Palestinian, or neutral, which is seen as the bellwether question of whether Israelis believe a US president is on their side.
The new poll found that 53% consider the administration more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israel, 20% called it neutral, and 11% did not express an opinion. The margin of error of the poll was 4.5 percentage points.
By contrast, the last Smith Research poll that asked the question, following Obama’s March 2013 visit to Israel, found that 27% considered his administration more pro-Israel, 16% said more pro-Palestinian, 39% neutral and 18% did not express an opinion. Since then, Obama’s administration has gone from an 11% majority calling it more pro-Israel, to a majority of 37% deeming it more pro-Palestinian.
Respondents to Wednesday poll who identify themselves as religiously observant were significantly more likely to call Obama’s administration more pro-Palestinian; 69% to 46%. Only 8% of religious respondents said the administration was more pro-Israel, compared to 20% of secular respondents.
The largest percentage of Israelis calling the Obama administration more pro-Israel in the 11 Smith polls, was 31% in May 2009. The lowest percentage was in August that year at only 4%.