Poll: U.S. Voters' Support for Netanyahu Drops in Wake of Iran Speech to Congress

Decline in backing stems from a drop in support from U.S. Democratic voters. Speech had little effect on Republicans' impressions of Netanyahu, Gallup reports.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress on March 3, 2015. The Israeli leader's U.S. approval ratings have dropped in the wake of that speech, the Gallup survey organization reports.Credit: AFP

Largely due to a drop in support from U.S. Democratic voters, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's approval ratings in America have dropped since he addressed Congress with a warning about Iran, a new poll says.

Gallup, the Washington survey specialist, compared approval ratings for Israel's leader in the periods Feb. 8 through 11 and March 5 through 8. Netanyahu gave his speech to Congress on March 3.

In that period the percentage of Americans who view Netanyahu favorably dropped 7 points to 38 percent, Gallup reported. The percentage who view him unfavorably rose 5 points to 29 percent.

Among Democrats specifically, the Israeli premier's favorable rating sank 15 points to 17 percent, while his unfavorable rating shot up 14 points to 46 percent, Gallup reported.

The speech had little effect on Republicans' impressions of Netanyahu. His favorable rating rose 2 points to 62 percent while unfavorable views of him slipped a point to 16 percent.

Netanyahu's speech caused a diplomatic ruckus in Washington. It was arranged by Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and House Speaker John Boehner, the Ohio Republican, with no coordination with the White House.

And it raised accusations of electioneering, since the speech was scheduled two weeks before Israelis go to the polls on March 17.

Two days ago Rabbi Eric Yoffie wrote in Haaretz that he sensed that American Jews, both Democrats and Republicans, were angry at Netanyahu because they considered the speech a slap at the president.

And a number of Haaretz writers and columnists have weighed in on the speech, both opposing and supporting the prime minister's decision to address Congress.