Polls show Americans strongly backing Israel in Gaza op

McClatchy/Ipsos: 44% say Israeli use of force justified - 18% support Hamas use of force.

gaza city air strike iaf smoke 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
gaza city air strike iaf smoke 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Two new polls show that Americans strongly back Israel over Hamas in the ongoing conflict in Gaza. A McClatchy/Ipsos poll found that 44 percent of Americans support Israel's use of force, in comparison to 18% who think Hamas's use of force is appropriate. And 57% think the latter is using excessive force - something only 36% believe Israel to be doing. The poll also found that more Americans now oppose rather than support creating a Palestinian state, with 45% saying the US shouldn't favor one, versus 31% who said it should and 24% who didn't know. In addition, the majority of Americans (51%) are not confident that President-elect Barack Obama will be able to forge a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians once he takes office: 32% said they were somewhat confident, and only 10% said they were very confident. A large plurality, 49%, put the blame for the current conflict squarely on Hamas, with only 14% blaming Israel and 29% undecided. Nine percent said both, and 4% said neither. A recent poll by the pro-Israel advocacy group The Israel Project also found that more Americans (55%) hold Palestinians responsible for the violence rather than Israelis (11%), with 23% blaming both and 5% blaming neither. They also fault Palestinian leaders over Israeli ones for the humanitarian crisis (66%-17%), and see the latter as working toward peace more than the Palestinians (48%-5%). The people surveyed identified the conflict as stemming more from ideology and religion than land (73% versus 19%). Between 87% and 91% of those questioned agreed that stopping Iran from training and funding terrorists, and Palestinians from firing rockets and teaching hate, was important to bringing about peace. A much lower percentage - 38%-41% - felt it was important for Israel to stop building settlements and to give Palestinians land, open the Gaza borders and stop the military incursion in the Strip to bring peace. The Israel Project survey as was conducted among 800 registered voters from January 10 through January 12, with a margin of error of +/- 3.5. The McClatchy/Ipsos poll was conducted from January 6 through January 12 among 1,054 Americans 18 and older. The margin of error was +/- 3 percentage points.