Americans Support Israel

Annual Gallup poll finds support among Americans for Israel almost as high as it’s ever been. BBC poll finds different numbers around the world.

Hillel Fendel, | updated: 17:01

Loving Israel
Loving Israel

The annual Gallup poll finds that support among Americans for Israelis is almost as high as it’s ever been. A BBC poll finds different numbers around the world.

The latest Gallup poll, carried out by phone in early February on 1,015 randomly-selected adults living in the continental U.S., finds that Americans are nearly four times as likely to side with Israel as with the Palestinian Authority. While 17% said they sympathize more with the Palestinians, some 63% said their sympathies lie more with the Israelis. Only in 1991 was there more support for Israel: 64%.

Gallup carries out surveys of this nature every year. The first poll, in 1988, found a 37-15 margin in favor of Israel. In ’91, during the Persian Gulf War, this shifted to a lopsided 64-7, when sympathy with the Arab cause was the lowest ever. In ’94, it was 43-15, then 54-8 in 1998, and 52-18 in 2005. By 2009, Israel had gained again, “leading” by a 59-18 margin, and it is now 63-17.

In addition, separate poll questions in the survey found that about two-thirds of Americans have a favorable opinion of Israel and 19% have a favorable opinion of the Palestinian Authority -- largely unchanged from February 2010.

Republicans continue to be Israel's strongest U.S. supporters: 80% sympathize more with the Israelis in the conflict, substantially higher than the 57% of independents and Democrats who incline toward Israel. 

All major U.S.population subgroups show greater sympathy for the Israelis than for the Palestinians. However, on a relative basis, the PA's greatest support is found among liberals (30%), followed by Democrats and those with postgraduate education (24% each). Liberals are the least supportive of Israel among the groups measured by Gallup.

In a trend that is cause for Israeli concern, support for Israel drops slightly as the respondents become younger. Among those aged 55 and older, Israel holds a strong 67-14 edge; this drops to 63-18 between the ages of 35 and 54, and even further to 58-19 among those aged 18 to 34.

BBC Poll: Different Story
Though in the United States, the picture for Israel is fairly rosy, a BBC poll finds support for Israel dropping around the world. In fact, Israel is more popular than only three countries: none other than Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran. Israel thus finished 24th out of 27 countries that were measured.

Some 28,000 people took part in the on-line survey between December ’10 and February of this year. Only 21% said they felt positively about Israel (more than the 19% of last year), compared with 49% who felt the opposite. In only four countries, supporters of Israel outnumbered its detractors: the U.S., Russia, Ghana, and India.