Americans choose Israel over the Palestinians at near-historical levels.
Gallup released today its annual survey of American opinion regarding Israel and the Palestinians.
The survey shows that support for Israel versus the Palestinians remains near historical highs, slightly up from last year:
Americans’ views about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remained steady over the past year, with 62% of Americans saying their sympathies lie more with the Israelis and 15% favoring the Palestinians. About one in four continue to be neutral, including 9% who sympathize with neither side, 3% who sympathize with both, and 11% expressing no opinion.
This data shows, as I have argued frequently, that the “Israel Lobby” is the American people. That support is organic, not imposed by political donors or lobbying groups.
The demographic breakdown is not as detailed as I would have liked, but does provide some detail as to party differences. Not surprisingly, Republican preference for Israel over the Palestinians is overwhelming, while the gap is much smaller but still strong among Democrats and Independents.
Among all party affiliations, preference for Israel over the Palestinians is much stronger than before 9/11 and the Second Intifada (suicide bombing campaign started by Yasser Arafat after Palestinians walked away from the Camp David negotiations).
Preference among Democrats has ticked up by 4 percent since last year. That demonstrates, as I predicted at the time, that the 2015 survey results showing a loss of support among Democrats likely was a result of the dispute regarding Bibi Netanyahu’s appearance before Congress and very public spat with Obama.
The survey provides some demographic breakdown, but without historical trends.
All major demographic and political subgroups of Americans lean toward Israel over the Palestinians on this question. However, several characteristics are related to the extent of public support for Israel.
Chief among these are religious preference and party identification. Gallup finds a 31-percentage-point difference in sympathy for Israel between Protestants (72%) and nonreligious Americans (41%), and a 26-point difference between Republicans (79%) and Democrats (53%). That contrasts with a 19-point difference between highly religious and nonreligious Americans, and an 18-point difference between older and younger Americans.
I’d like more detail particularly as to the age gap. The age categories are so broad that it’s hard to see if there is dramatic difference among the youngest in the 18-29 age group. Are Americans coming out of the anti-Israel Higher Ed system being influenced as a broad group, or just among the most liberal/progressive as some prior surveys have shown. We don’t get the answers to those questions, but the 2015 survey indicates an upward trend in support for Israel among all age groups:
All of the above demonstrates that politically, particularly in a general election and Republican primaries, support for Israel is a winning issue.