Arak plant, Iran 370.
(photo credit: Reuters)
WASHINGTON – A majority of Americans supports Israel and using military force
against Iran if necessary to keep it from acquiring nuclear arms, according to a
recent Pew poll.
The poll found 64% of Americans favor stopping Iran from
obtaining nuclear weapons even if means resorting to using force, while only 25%
preferred avoiding military conflict if it meant Iran would get a nuclear
Republicans were the strongest supporters of retaining the
possibility of using of force, with 80% preferring that option. Democrats
supported that position by 62% to 25% and Independents by 59% to
There was also a sharp partisan divide on the question of favoring
Israel over the Palestinians. Sixty-six percent of Republicans said they
sympathized with Israel more in comparison to 49% of Independents and 39% of
Democrats. Overall, 49% of Americans said they sympathize more with Israelis and
just 12% say they sympathize more with Palestinians.
number was a slight drop from a similar poll cited by Pew that was conducted in
1978, but the shift among Republicans was much more extreme. While the 1978 poll
found that 44% of Democrats considered themselves more sympathetic to Israel,
only 49% of Republicans at that time agreed.
In addition to the party
divide, Americans also split on sympathy towards Israel by age and religion.
Only 36% of Americans aged 18-29 considered themselves more sympathetic to
Israel in comparison to 59% of those 50-64, the age bracket most supportive of
Some 46% of Catholics said they sympathized more with Israel
while 56% of Protestants said the same. Among Protestants, 72% of white
evangelicals but just 37% of white mainline adherents agreed with the
In no demographic category, however, did sympathy for
Palestinians outweigh sympathy for Israel, and in only one did sympathy for
Palestinians rise to more than half the number sympathetic to Israel, with 19%
of those aged 18-29 sympathizing with Palestinians more as opposed to the 36%
that sympathized more with Israelis.
The poll, which was conducted ahead
of US President Barack Obama’s trip to Israel last month, surveyed 1,501 adults.
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