Poll: For the first time, Democrats say they sympathize more with the Palestinians than with Israelis
American views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have become more polarized and partisan, with 49% of Democrats sympathizing with Palestinians
A Gallup poll released last week shows that Democrats in the United States have grown less supportive of Israel over the past five years in regards to its ongoing conflict with the Palestinians.
The poll asked: “In the Middle East situation, are your sympathies more with the Israelis or more with the Palestinians?”
Of the Democrats surveyed, 49% expressed sympathy for the Palestinians, versus only 38% who said their sympathies lie with the Israelis. The view marks an 11 percentage-point increase in sympathy with Palestinians compared to last year, Gallup noted.
Among Republicans, 78% replied that they favor the Israelis and only 11% favored Palestinians. Similarly, more independents (49%) said they lean toward the Israelis, but their support of the Palestinians increased to 32% – up six points from last year.
Gallup concluded that support for Palestinians among U.S. adults has reached an all-time high of 31%, altogether. In addition, the poll showed that more Americans are chosing a side in the conflict, with the percentage of these not favoring any side reached a new 15% low.
“It is also the first time Israel has not enjoyed a better than 2-to-1 advantage over the Palestinians in Americans’ sympathies,” Gallup stated.
Those partisan differences are even more evident among young Americans. The poll indicated that the older generations are more supportive of Israelis compared to millennials, who are divided, with 42% sympathizing more with the Palestinians and 40% more with the Israelis.
When asked about their level of support of the State of Israel versus the Palestinian Authority, most respondents – both Democrats and Republicans (68%) – said they favor Israel and only 26% said they favor the PA.
This poll was conducted with a random sample of 1,008 U.S.-based adults between Feb. 1 and Feb. 23, and included a 4% margin of error.
Gallup noted that American public views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have become more polarized. While Democrats increasingly lean towards the Palestinians, Republicans continue to align themselves with Israeli.
In their analysis of the results, Gallup said that religion might be one factor driving these trends. A 2014 poll showed that sympathy towards Israel in the U.S. has traditionally correlated with religion. Americans who attend religious services twice a week tend to be much more sympathetic to Israelis than those who rarely attend services, if at all.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.