WASHINGTON, D.C. - A poll published on Wednesday by Politico and Morning Consult asked approximately 1,900 Americans for their opinion on moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an issue making headlines ever since Donald Trump entered the White House two-and-a-half weeks ago. The results showed that half of the population has no opinion on the matter, while 26% oppose such a move and 23% support it.
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The numbers changed when a longer question was presented, explaining the complicated history surrounding the issue of the embassy's location and the possible effects it could have on the peace process and the relationship between Israel and the United States.
Here is how the longer question was phrased:
"Some people say for over 20 years it’s been U.S. law that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that the president should move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to recognize that. All previous presidents have delayed moving the embassy, but it’s time for the embassy to be moved and the law followed.
"Other people say moving the embassy would hurt the peace process between Israel and its neighbors by making it seem like the United States was taking a side on a controversial question, and so should not be done until there is a final peace deal between the relevant parties. After reading those arguments, do you think the U.S. should move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or not?"
In reply to this phrasing, 41% said they opposed moving the embassy, while 33% said they supported it. 25% still said they had no opinion on the matter, but when pressed harder, 60% of them objected to moving the embassy and only 40% supported it.
Trump promised during his election campaign to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, but ever since he entered the White House 12 days ago, the administration has been sending mixed signals on this issue, with the president saying it was "too early" to discuss the idea, but also claiming that he "likes it."
Sean Spicer, the White House's press secretary, said last week that the decision-making process on this question was still at its' earliest stages.
The poll by Politico and Morning Consult also showed that one in four Americans believe president Trump's false claims about millions of people voting illegally in the last U.S. election, and that 49% approve of the job Trump has been doing so far.
Trump's approval rating in the poll rose to 49%, higher than the average result in other polls published since he has entered the White House.