Poll: Americans back Israel, divided on PA state

Gallup poll shows widest gap in views of Israel to be political, not religious or generational.

David Rosenberg ,

Marchers at the annual Israel Day Parade in Manhattan
Marchers at the annual Israel Day Parade in Manhattan

US support for Israel remained solid last month, despite the frigid relations between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

According to a Gallup poll released on Monday, American support for the Jewish state remains stable, with 71% of Americans having a favorable view of Israel, compared to 70% in 2015 and 72% in 2014.

The data, which is based on polling conducted between February 3 and February 7, also shows that Americans prefer Israel over the Palestinian Authority by a margin of four to one, with 62% expressing greater support for Israel versus 15% who supported the PA more than Israel. The percentage supporting Israel remained unchanged since 2014, while the number favoring the PA declined from 18% in 2014 to 15% this year.

Americans also remained sharply divided over the issue of Palestinian statehood. While support for a Palestinian state was strong in the past, it fell below 50% in 2013. Today only 44% back a Palestinian state, while 37% oppose, and 19% expressed no opinion.

The largest gap in levels of support for Israel was partisan, with Republican support for Israel over the PA 26 points higher than among Democrats. A whopping 79% of Republicans favor Israel according to the poll, while only 7% support the PA.

Among Democrats, support for Israel, while lower than in the GOP, still remains strong: 53% of Democrats were more sympathetic to Israel, compared to 23% who chose the PA.

There was also a 19-point gap between active-churchgoers and those who rarely or never attend religious services, with 75% of religiously-active respondents favoring Israel, compared to 56% of those who do not attend services regularly.

Young Americans (18 to 29) favor Israel over the PA at lower levels than Americans over 50, but still support Israel over the PA 54% to 23%.