Poll: Americans nearly split over support for Palestinian state

(JTA) – Americans are nearly evenly divided over support for a Palestinian state, according to the latest Gallup poll.

Some 45 per cent of Americans back the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip and 42 per cent oppose it, according to the poll taken during the first week of February. Some 13 per cent said they have no opinion. 

One year ago, support for a Palestinian state was at nearly the same level, 44 per cent, but a lower percentage, 37 per cent, opposed it. At that time, 19 per cent said they had no opinion.

Broken down by political party affiliation, 61 per cent of Democrats, 50 per cent of Republicans and 25 per cent of Independents are in favour of a Palestinian state.

The results are from Gallup’s annual World Affairs poll conducted Feb. 1-5. A random sample of 1,035 Americans over 18 was polled. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 per cent.

The poll also asked respondents if their “sympathies” lie more with the Israelis or the Palestinians.

Some 62 per cent of Americans said they sympathized more with the Israelis and 19 per cent with the Palestinians in numbers that are similar to the past several years. Another 19 per cent responded with no preference, broken down into 5 per cent who say they sympathize with both equally, 6 per cent who sympathize with neither, and 8 per cent who responded that they have no opinion.

In the splits by political party, 82 per cent of Republicans, 47 per cent of Democrats and 57 per cent of Independents said they sympathized with Israel.

Asked about their opinions of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, some 49 per cent of respondents said they viewed him favourably and 30 per cent unfavourably – both figures the highest recorded in the poll – with 13 per cent saying they never heard of him and 8 per cent saying they have no opinion.

Broken down by party, 32 per cent of Democrats viewed Netanyahu favourably and 41 per cent unfavourably, and 73 per cent of Republicans viewed Netanyahu favourably and 11 per cent unfavourably. In 2015, before Netanyahu spoke against the Iran nuclear deal in Congress, a speech that was boycotted by several Democratic members of Congress, 31 per cent of Democrats viewed him favourably and 31 per cent unfavourably, and 60 per cent of Republicans favourably and 18 per cent unfavourably.

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