The latest Pew survey on American attitudes about Israel and Palestine documents the growing partisan divide over Israel in the U.S. Four out of five Republicans sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians, but solidarity with Palestinians is surging in the Democratic base.
Currently, nearly twice as many liberal Democrats say they sympathize more with the Palestinians than with Israel (35% vs. 19%)
The Israel sympathy number has cratered in just two years:
The share of liberal Democrats who sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians has declined from 33% to 19% since 2016.
And Israel’s favorability among conservative Dems is also falling fast:
However, the share of conservative and moderate Democrats who sympathize more with Israel has declined 18 percentage points since 2016 (from 53% to 35%).
The poll clearly points to Benjamin Netanyahu’s role in driving these attitudes:
Netanyahu remains a deeply polarizing figure in the U.S… Nearly three times as many Republicans (52%) as Democrats (18%) have favorable impressions of Israel’s leader.
Pew reports that overall, American sympathies are the same as they were 40 years ago:
46% of Americans say they sympathize more with the Israelis, 16% say they sympathize more with the Palestinians
Back in 1978, it was 45 to 14! But when you sort people by party, you see the differences. Republicans are overwhelmingly on Israel’s side, Dems are divided.
Nearly eight-in-ten Republicans (79%) sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians, while just 6% sympathize more with the Palestinians
27% of Democrats say they sympathize more with Israel, while 25% say they sympathize more with the Palestinians.
The Dems have shifted in the last two years:
As recently as two years ago, in April 2016, Democrats were more likely to sympathize more with Israel (43%) than with the Palestinians (29%), with 16% saying they sympathized with both or neither.
Among liberal Democrats, there’s not a lot of argument. Palestinian solidarity!
The share of liberal Democrats who sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians has declined from 33% to 19% since 2016. Currently, nearly twice as many liberal Democrats say they sympathize more with the Palestinians than with Israel (35% vs. 19%)
I think we must attribute the change to Israel’s ugly international image under Netanyahu–
among liberal Democrats, more than three times as many have an unfavorable view of Netanyahu (49%) than a favorable opinion (15%).
Also to the percentage of Dems who see Trump as too favorable to Israel, per the survey. And the greater sympathy that young people have for Palestinians:
About a third of those under 30 (32%) say they sympathize more with Israel, compared with 23% who sympathize more with the Palestinians.
For all Americans above age 50, it’s 56 percent favoring Israel to 12 or 13 percent for Palestine.
And though all mainline religious groups have a more favorable view of Israel than Palestinians, when Pew polls the “unaffiliated,” the numbers flip: 29 percent to 26 percent more sympathetic to Palestinians. The unaffiliated are the young.
The young believe that a two-state solution is possible, by 60 to 28 percent, but older Americans are far more equivocal. Overall, half of Americans say the two-state solution is possible (49 percent), while 39 percent say it isn’t. Interestingly, Democrats are more likely to say so than Republicans.
The poll is based on 1500 adults interviewed between January 10-15.