Americans are nearly evenly divided in assigning blame for the 11 days of fighting between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization, a new poll shows, a with a clear partisan divide between Republicans and Democrats.
The poll was conducted by the Trafalgar Group, polling 1,101 likely voters across the US, with a margin of error of 2.95%.
Among likely general election voters, there was just a one-point difference in the percentage of respondents who said Hamas was primarily to blame for the fighting compared to those who blamed Israel.
A total of 28.4% of Americans say Hamas is most to blame for the violence, compared to 27.4% who blamed Israel, 9.8% who said Iran was most to blame, and 7.7% who blamed the Palestinian Authority.
The poll also found a strong partisan gap on the question, with Democrats far more likely to blame Israel rather than Hamas, while few Republicans blamed Israel for the flare up in violence, which saw 12 Israelis killed during 11 days of rocket attacks from Gaza.
Prior to the ceasefire agreed upon Thursday, 232 Gazans, most of them members of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups, were killed in Israeli retaliatory strikes.
According to the Trafalgar poll, 38.5% of self-identified Democrats blamed Israel for the latest round of fighting, with just 15.5% blaming Hamas, 5.9% blaming Iran, and 5.7% blaming the Palestinian Authority. Among those Democrats who had an opinion, 58.7% blamed Israel for the violence, compared to just 23.6% who blamed Hamas.
Republicans, however, were fare more likely to blame Hamas for the conflict, with 42.5% saying Hamas was most responsible, compared to 14.6% who said Iran was primarily to blame, 12.5% who said Israel was to blame, and 10.5% who blamed the Palestinian Authority.
Among those Republicans who expressed an opinion, 64.8% blamed Hamas, compared to just 19.1% who said Israel was to blame.
Independents were slightly more likely to blame Israel than Hamas, with 31.2% saying Israel was primarily to blame, compared to 28.6% who blamed Hamas, 9.1% who blamed Iran, and 7.0% who blamed the Palestinian Authority.
Younger respondents were far more likely to blame Israel than older respondents, the poll found.
Among likely voters 18 to 24, 48.3% blamed Israel, compared to 22.2% who blamed Hamas. Likely voters 25-34 were somewhat less likely to blame Israel, with 34.7% saying the Jewish state was to blame, compared to 26.0% who blamed Hamas.
Respondents between the ages of 35 to 44 were evenly divided, with 25.2% blaming Israel and 26.5% blaming Hamas, while likely voters between 45 to 64 were marginally more likely to blame Hamas (32.0%) than Israel (26.9%). People over 65 were least likely to say Israel was to blame (19.4%) with 27.7% blaming Hamas.
Broken down by ethnicity, non-Hispanic whites (24.2%) and blacks (28.8%) were least likely to blame Israel, with Hispanics (36.9%), Asians (39.6%) and respondents in the ‘other’ category (74.9%) more likely to blame Israel.
Non-Hispanic whites (31.7%) and Asians (27.1%) were most likely to blame Hamas, with Hispanics (22.8%), blacks (17.2%), and ‘others’ (2.8%) less likely to blame the Gaza-based terror group.