WASHINGTON - A majority of Americans don't believe U.S. President Donald Trump can successfully broker a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, according to a CBS News poll published Sunday. Only 15 percent of the poll's respondents said they have "a lot" of confidence in Trump's ability to broker such an agreement, despite his previous statements that he will be able to achieve peace in the Middle East due to his "deal-making" capabilities.
The CBS poll, which had just over 2,000 respondents, touched on a wide number of political and economic issues not related to Israel. However, in light of the big news that emerged from the Middle East last week - the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and the aftermath of Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal - a number of questions related to the region were included in the poll.
When asked how much confidence they had in Trump's ability to broker a peace agreement, 15 percent replied "a lot," 23 percent replied "some," another 23 percent chose "not much," and the largest group, 39 percent, answered "none."
Trump received the highest number of "none" answers on this specific question. For comparison, 35 percent said they have no confidence in his ability to "handle issues with Iran," and only 30 percent expressed a similar view of his ability to "handle issues to North Korea."
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Overall, more than 60 percent of the respondents have little to no confidence in Trump's Middle East negotiating skills. Trump has called an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord "the ultimate deal," and a small team in the White House led by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been working on a plan for solving the conflict since last year. Recent news reports have indicated that the peace plan will be released next month, but there has been no official confirmation from the White House.
The poll included a separate question about the impact of the embassy move to Jerusalem. Only 16 percent of respondents said the move would make peace more likely in the region, showing very little support for an argument that the White House has been promoting for a few months now. Forty-one percent said the embassy move would make peace less likely in the region. Forty-three percent said the move would have no impact on the issue.
Trump received better results in his ability to handle Iran, the same CBS poll showed. Twenty-two percent expressed "a lot" of confidence in his Iran policy, and another 22 percent expressed "some" confidence in it. However, 35 percent said they have no confidence in his ability to handle the Iranian file, and another 21 percent said they don't have "much" confidence in the president on this subject. Overall, a majority of respondents don't have trust in Trump's policy regarding the Islamic Republic.