Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (L) with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, February 2, 2015.
(photo credit: YONATAN ZINDEL/POOL)
Despite the current tension between the White House and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US support for Israel is at near record levels, according to a Gallup poll released on Monday.
According to the poll, seven in 10 Americans continue to view Israel favorably, and there has been no significant change in that number from a year ago, before the brouhaha over Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.
The poll, conducted between February 8 and February 11 among a random sample of 837 adults, found that 70 percent of Americans said they view Israel favorably (compared to 72% at the same time last year), and 62% said they sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians (the same figure as last year).
By contrast, only 17% view the Palestinian Authority favorably (down from 19% last year) and only 16% are more sympathetic to the Palestinians (compared to 18% last year).
According to Gallup’s explanation of the results, these numbers suggest that neither the friction between Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama nor last summer’s conflict in Gaza significantly impacted on the US public’s perceptions toward Israel or the Palestinians.
Israel’s favorability rate now is significantly higher than it was in 1991, when tension was high between then US president George Bush and prime minister Yitzhak Shamir. At that point, only 47% of the public said they had a favorable view of Israel.
According to the poll, Republican support for Israel has increased from 2001 – when some 53% said they sympathized more with Israel than the Palestinians – to 83% this year. Democratic support has grown from 35% in 2001 to 48% this year.
Reflecting, perhaps, the tension between Netanyahu and Obama, the number of Democrats with a favorable view of Israel dropped from 74% last year to 60% today.
Likewise, the number of Democrats expressing more support for Israel than for the Palestinians dropped from 55% last year to 48% today. That was also the same percentage that expressed a similar sentiment in 2008, the year Obama was elected president.
The poll’s margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.