Poll: US support for Israel at 5-yr high

Over 60% of Americans now believe the US should support Israel, up from a low point of 23% in 2003.

pro-israel support US298 (photo credit: AP)
pro-israel support US298
(photo credit: AP)
Support for Israel among Americans is at its highest point in five years, while the image of Palestinians has grown increasingly negative during the past few months, according to the results of a new survey. Over 60 percent of Americans now believe that the US should support Israel, up from a low point of 23% in 2003 and showing a rise of over 10% since the Second Lebanon War. Conversely, close to 50% have an unfavorable opinion of the Palestinians, following a trend that has increased in the past few months. The survey, which canvassed 800 likely voters in mid-December, was carried out by noted pollster Stanley Greenberg at the behest of The Israel Project, a non-governmental organization that works to improve Israel's image abroad. "The results for Israel follow a trend we've seen developing for years," said Greenberg at a Jerusalem press conference on Tuesday, "but the growing negative numbers of the Palestinians are not what you would expect during a period of peace negotiations." While 66% of Americans believe this Israeli government is committed to peace, over half said they had little or no awareness of last month's Annapolis conference. Sixty percent also said they had little or no awareness of Gaza rockets being shot into Israel, and 55% do not believe an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement will have much impact on reducing terrorism. Similar surveys conducted in France and the UK found that support for Palestinians still remains slightly higher than for Israel. The French, though, show increasing concern over Iran's nuclear program and remain convinced its purpose is to develop nuclear weapons. Greenberg, a former pollster for the Clinton White House, also showed results that more Americans now trust Democrats over Republicans (46% to 41%) to deal with Iran. "This reflects fallout from the Iraq war," said Greenberg. "More Americans want Iran handled differently."