'Republicans more likely to favor Israel over Palestinians, show skepticism toward Iran'

Overall, Americans were more likely to side with Israel than the Palestinians, the Pew survey found.

March 31, 2015 14:01
2 minute read.
Nuns wave Israeli and Palestinian flags before Pope Francis

Nuns wave Israeli and Palestinian flags before Pope Francis arrives to lead the general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Liberal Democrats are far more likely to take a sympathetic view of the Palestinians as well as a more critical view of Israel in comparison to conservative Republicans, a new poll commissioned by the Pew Research Center indicated on Tuesday.

Overall, Americans were more likely to side with Israel than the Palestinians, the Pew survey found.

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Nearly one-third said that they felt “a lot” of sympathy with Israel while 34 percent said they had “some sympathy.” In contrast, 11% said they have “not much” sympathy while 18% don’t sympathize at all with Israel, a six-percent jump compared to last August (12%).

As for the Palestinians, only 11% have “a lot” of sympathy, 35% have some sympathy, 17% not much and 29% have no sympathy at all.

A further breakdown of the numbers reveals a clear fault line based on partisan affiliation. Over half of Republicans (51%) have far more sympathy for Israel over the Palestinians; 28% “sympathize some” with Israel; and 17% sympathize “not much” or “not at all.”

Among conservative Republicans, support for Israel is even higher, with 62% having “a lot” of sympathy. As for moderate and liberal Republicans, just one-third reported having “a lot” of sympathy for Israel.

When it comes to Democrats, however, the numbers are somewhat more balanced. A majority of Democrats (57%) have either some sympathy or a lot of sympathy for Israel (21% a lot) while nearly that amount - 54% - have a lot or some sympathy with the Palestinians (16% a lot).

Those who classify themselves as liberal Democrats are far more likely to express sympathy for the Palestinians. According to the poll, 68% of liberal Democrats “have at least some sympathy for the Palestinians (22% a lot). By contrast, just 45% of conservative and moderate Democrats have at least some sympathy for the Palestinians (12% a lot).”

Strikingly, when asked which side sympathizes with just one side, Republicans were more likely to overwhelmingly side only with Israel, while Democrats were split.

“Among Republicans, nearly half (47%) sympathize only with Israel and just 3% sympathize only with the Palestinians,” according to Pew. “An additional three-in-ten (30%) have sympathies for both sides, while 13% sympathize with neither.”

“By contrast, just 14% of Democrats sympathize only with Israel; about as many (12%) sympathize only with the Palestinians. A plurality of Democrats (42%) have sympathies with both Israel and the Palestinians and nearly one-in-four (23%) have lower levels of sympathy for either side.”

On the issue of Iran, while almost half of Americans approve of directly negotiating with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, a solid majority believes that Congress should have the authority to sign off on any deal.

In addition, opinion of the talks depends greatly on partisan politics, with 72% of liberal Democrats approving of the negotiations while 62% of conservative Republicans express disapproval.

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