Half of Americans oppose unilateral creation of 'Palestine'

New Poll shows support for Israel still high in US; 66% of Republicans, 48% of Democrats against unilateral declaration of Palestinian state.

Palestinian Flag 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Flag 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK – A small majority of Americans seem to be opposed to a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state in the absence of a bilateral peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, according to a newly released poll from The Israel Project.
The survey, conducted last week among 800 registered voters, suggested that support for Israel remains strong among Americans, particularly among older, more conservative voters in the South and West of the United States.
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“The key targets for us to grow our support are Democrats, younger voters, women and minorities,” pollster Neil Newhouse said on a conference call on the poll Monday, adding that while those groups do support Israel, their support tends to be “softer.”
“We need to get the message across to some of the more liberal members of the Democratic coalition,” Newhouse said.
Fifty-one percent of voters polled said they would oppose the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, with 29% of those responding that they would strongly oppose it, whereas 31% of voters polled said they would support such a unilateral declaration, 12% of those stating they would strongly support it.
Opposition to unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state cuts across party lines in the US, according to the poll’s data. Some 66% of Republicans opposed it as did 44% of independents and 48% of Democrats.
Without a peace treaty in place between Israelis and Palestinians, 54% of respondents believe the US should not recognize a Palestinian state, whereas 33% of respondents feel that the US should recognize a unilaterally declared state.
Republicans are generally more skeptical than Democrats or independents of the Palestinians’ intentions to make peace with Israel: 68% of Republicans said Israel was making an effort to make peace with Palestinians, while 72% of Republicans said Palestinians were making no effort to make peace.
Recent events in Israel, including rockets and other projectiles cast into southern Israel from Gaza, have increased American support for Israel.
According to the poll, every age group believes that America should side with Israel.
“Hamas has a very negative perception among Americans,” Newhouse said, adding that when people were asked an open-ended question regarding Hamas, the word most associated with the organization is “terrorist.”