Poll: American Support for Israel at Highest Rates Since Early 1990s as Partisan Gap Widens

A new Gallup poll finds 74% of Americans have a favorable view of Israel, while 27% of Democrats and only 12% of Republicans favorably view the Palestinian Authority

Demonstrators protesting against Israeli Minister Naftali Bennett speaking at Columbia University, New York on March 6, 2018.
Gili Getz

WASHINGTON - A Gallup poll released on Tuesday found support for Israel among the American public remains high, but gaps between Republicans and Democrats on the subject have widened. The results correlate with trends recently indicated in other polls measuring public attitudes in the United States towards Israel.

According to the Gallup poll, 74% of Americans have a favorable view of Israel, the highest number measured since the early 1990s. Among Republicans, 83% have a favorable view of Israel, while among Democrats, 64% have a favorable view of Israel. Meanwhile, 27% of surveyed Democrats, 21% of surveyed independents and only 12% of surveyed Republicans have a favorable view of the Palestinian Authority, according to the poll. 

The poll also measured whether respondents sympathize more with Israel or with the Palestinians. Overall, 64% said they sympathize more with Israel. While only 19% said they sympathize more with the Palestinians, the pollsters noted that this is the second highest percentage of support for the Palestinian side in the conflict ever since the early 1990s. While close to 90% of Republicans said they sympathize more with Israel, only 49% of Democrats chose that answer. 

The pollsters noted that "Republicans have consistently shown greater support than Democrats for Israel, partly because of conservative Christians' beliefs about the biblical significance of Israel." They also writes that "another key factor in the especially wide gap since 2002 is likely Israel's strong backing of the United States at the start of the Iraq War in 2003 and the strong support that Republican President George W. Bush showed for the Jewish state."

A poll published last year by the Pew Institute pointed to a growing partisan divide over Israel, showing that Republicans were more supportive of Israel than at any time before yet Democratic support for Israel was declining. The Gallup poll showed better overall numbers for Israel, as well as its popularity among Americans over 55 more than under 35.