WASHINGTON (JTA) — Support for Israel among Americans is at a near record high, a new poll showed.
According to the Gallup Poll, 63 percent of Americans say their sympathies in the Middle East conflict are with Israel, while 15 percent side with the Palestinians. The rest favor both sides, neither side or have no opinion.
Support for Israel was higher only in 1991, shortly after Israel was hit with Scud missiles during the Gulf War, when it was at 64 percent.
The poll, conducted in early February, was part of Gallup’s annual World Affairs survey in which Americans were asked a series of questions about their opinions of 20 countries or entities, including Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Israel’s ranking, at 67 percent favorable, was among the highest of the countries surveyed. The Palestinian Authority, at 20 percent, was among the lowest.
Support for Israel increased more among Republicans and independents than Democrats, the poll showed. Since 2001, there has been an increase of 25 points among Republicans and 18 points among independents. Support for Israel among Democrats has stayed about the same.
Asked whether peace eventually will be reached in the Middle East, 67 percent of respondents answered “doubtful” and 30 percent said “there will come a time” when there will be peace.
In a general trend over the past 10 years, Democrats were more optimistic than Republicans about the chances for peace. Thirty-nine percent of Democrats said it will come; 25 percent of Republicans agreed.
Pollsters conducted telephone interviews with a random sampling of 1,025 American adults between Feb. 1 and 3. The poll has a 4 percent margin of error.