(JTA) – Seven in 10 Americans continued to view Israel favourably, despite the breakdown of relations between the U.S. and Israeli leaders, a Gallup poll found.
By contrast, some 17 per cent of Americans viewed the Palestinian Authority favourably, according to Gallup’s Feb. 8-11 World Affairs survey. The results were nearly identical to the same question asked one year ago.
However, while 83 per cent of Republicans viewed Israel favourably, 48 per cent of Democrats shared the same view – a drop of 10 percentage points from last year. The decrease was a possible fallout from the controversy over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial March 3 address to the U.S. Congress.
The poll also found that 62 per cent of Americans say they sympathize more with the Israelis than the Palestinians in their conflict, and that 16 per cent sympathize more with the Palestinians, also nearly identical results from one year ago.
The results follow the high-profile disagreements between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, as well as Israel’s 50-day operation last summer against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The poll was based on a random telephone and cellphone sample of 837 adults living in the United States; it has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 per cent.
Since 2005, Israel’s public image in the United States has averaged 68 per cent of Americans viewing it favourably, according to Gallup. Between 2000 and 2004, the score averaged 60 per cent. In 1991, when Israel was a victim of Iraqi rocket attacks, its favourable rating was a record 79 per cent, according to Gallup.
Gallup has measured American’s impressions of the Palestinian Authority since 2000, with the percentage viewing it favorably averaging 17 per cent.