The Numbers Crunch: Lies, damned lies and statistics

Do Europeans support the Palestinian statehood bid? Palestinians? Israelis? JPost readers? A wrap up of polls on the week’s biggest story.

September 26, 2011 13:52
3 minute read.
The Numbers Crunch

Numbers Crunch 311. (photo credit: Mrkay Design)


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They say statistics are no substitute for judgement, and that over 85 percent are made up on the spot. Nonetheless, this week, The Numbers Crunch gets down to the nitty-gritty, crunching numbers related to the Palestinian statehood bid in the United Nations.

First up, how did JPost readers interact with the story? In the past week, leading up to PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s presentation of the official statehood request to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York, all five of the most-read stories on the site related to the bid. Interestingly, the focus was on regional and international diplomatic efforts rather than on a local slant, specifically regarding the US.

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Most-read stories on last week:

1. PA: Obama will be responsible for failure of peace
2. Romney and Perry blame Obama for PA bid
3. Abbas: All hell has broken loose ahead of UN statehood bid
4. PA to US: Veto at UN would 'destroy' two-state solution
5. Report: Abbas working on deal with EU, US to avoid statehood bid

The most-active threads on the JPost talkback system also centered around the diplomatic process at the UN, with the except of yet another set of inflammatory comments from Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Most active threads on last week:

1. PA to US: Veto at UN would 'destroy' two-state solution
2. Romney and Perry blame Obama for PA bid
3. Blair floats proposal to buy time on Palestinian UN bid
4. Erdogan: Warships could be in eastern Mediterranean at any moment
5. New York: Barak meets Fayyad in attempt to stop UN bid

Taking a step back from, this wrap-up of opinion polls and quick votes here in Israel and around the world give a sense of varied opinions regarding the Palestinian move. Figures indicate that while there is definitely support from the man on the street, reservations about the unilateral move are widespread, especially in Israel and the US.

2% – US news coverage devoted to Palestinian statehood in the past week

6.9% – Israel’s defense budget as a share of GDP

9% – Egyptians who have reservations about the Palestinian statehood bid

21% – People from all over the world who don’t think their government should support the Palestinian statehood bid

26% – Britons who are against the creation of a Palestinian state

27% – Republicans in favor of US recognition of a Palestinian state

40% – Americans who say they sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians

49% – People from all over the world who think their government should support the Palestinian statehood bid

54% – Democrats in favor of US recognition of a Palestinian state

58% – JPost readers in the US

66% – Americans who think news stories are often inaccurate

69% – Israelis who think Jerusalem should accept the decision if the UN recognizes a Palestinian state

70% – American Muslims who view US President Barack Obama's tenure favorably

83% – Palestinians who support the unilateral declaration of statehood

86% – Germans who support the right of the Palestinians to their own independent state

90% – Egyptians who think their government should support the statehood bid

The statistics in this column were compiled using figures from the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Google Analytics, the Pew Research Center, the BBC, Avaaz and Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

From news sites to blogs, tweets to videos, the Numbers Crunch is a biweekly column which zooms out and brings you the big picture online, from Israel, the Middle East and around the world, and poll results from If you have stats to share, e-mail
The writer is the Internet desk manager at The Jerusalem Post

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