Recent Polling Data Suggest That U.S. Support for Israel Remains Strong

June 23, 2021 | Victoria Coates
About the author: Victoria Coates is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy and a principal member of Vi et Arte Solutions, LLC. She also served as deputy national-security adviser for Middle Eastern and North African affairs in the Trump administration.

Examining a poll of Americans’ attitudes regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict taken near the end of last month, and comparing it to the results of other similar surveys, Victoria Coates concludes that reports of diminishing support for the Jewish state are highly exaggerated:

The [survey’s first] question was on general support for the U.S.-Israel relationship, and the results indicate that there is robust, bipartisan support for Israel in the survey sample. Forty percent of respondents are following the issue closely enough to have a strong opinion, which is highly unusual in international issues. Within this group, . . . 6.9 percent strongly oppose [the alliance] and 33.7 percent strongly support [it]. Republican support is predictably the strongest, with 70 percent of [Republican] respondents supporting the alliance either strongly or somewhat, with the majority of that group in the “strong” category. But even within the self-identifying liberal demographic, strong support for Israel does not dip below 24 percent.

Among Democrats more broadly, 65 percent support the relationship with Israel either strongly or somewhat. These are solid numbers for a country frequently portrayed in the U.S. media as polarizing, and suggest that what opposition to the relationship there is among the American people is localized to specific congressional districts, and [that such opposition] would not be a successful platform for a state- or nationwide election.

Coates also cautions against overinterpreting any particular set of data, noting that the past 70 years “have seen wide swings in American attitudes towards the Jewish state,” even as pro-Israel sentiment has proved durable in the long run. Rushing to the conclusion that “the relationship is doomed” based on short-term shifts in public opinion would be, in her evaluation, foolish.

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