Most Americans think Obama should back Israel, but minority says he does

According to poll, 67% of American public feel the US president should be strongly supportive of Israel, while 20% said he should not be.

April 30, 2015 23:57
2 minute read.
Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The overwhelming majority of Americans believes the US president should be a “strong supporter” of Israel, but only 38 percent believe President Barack Obama to be one, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this week.

According to the poll, 67% of the public feel the president should be strongly supportive of Israel, while 20% said he should not be. Forty-eight percent of the respondents said Obama is not a strong supporter – a number that has increased from 42% in April 2010.

The telephone poll, which asked 1,353 eligible voters questions about a wide range of issues – from Iran to Congress to same-sex marriages – was conducted from April 16 to April 21. It has a +/- 2.7% margin of error.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents aged 55 and above said that the president should support Israel, while only 57% of those between 18 and 34 were of that mind.

The answer to that question also varies greatly among the parties, with 87% of the Republicans believing this should be the position of the US president, and only 56% of the Democrats holding that opinion.

Some 38% of the public hold a favorable opinion of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to the poll, while 22% have an unfavorable opinion, and 37% said they hadn’t heard enough about him to form an opinion.

But, perhaps reflecting the recent tension between Obama and Netanyahu, only 14% of the Democrats have a favorable opinion of the prime minister, while 33% have an unfavorable opinion. Among Republicans, however, 68% are supportive of the prime minister, and only 5% have an unfavorable opinion.

Netanyahu’s favorability among Americans is trending upward, as 30% had a favorable position in April 2010, and 34% in June 2011.

By contrast, more people (49%) disapproved of the way Obama is handling his job as president than those who approved (44%).

Despite the favorable opinion of Netanyahu, his strong position against the recent framework agreement with the Iranians has not moved the American public, with 58% saying they support the agreement and 33% opposing it.

With that, however, 62% said they were not confident that the agreement would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Asked whether they approve or disapprove of the way Obama is handling the situation in Iran, only 37% said they approve, and 52% that they disapprove. This is a marked change since October 2009, when 45% favored Obama’s handling of Iran, and 39% disapproved.

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