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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Poll: US support for Israel jumps since Obama speech

A poll commissioned by the Israel Project shows that US support for Israel has jumped significantly since President Obama's Cairo speech in June. The poll contrasts sharply with claims by Israel's New England Consul General Nadav Tamir last month that support for Israel was eroding.
The poll, conducted by Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies and Stan Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (GQRR), asked some 800 likely US voters the following question: "Thinking about the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in the Middle East, please tell me whether, in general, you consider yourself to be an Israel supporter, Palestinian supporter, or neither/undecided."

Some 59 percent of the respondents said they were Israel supporters, compared to 29 percent for the Palestinians. The poll was conducted by telephone from August 22 to 25.

This was a considerable jump in support for Israel since June, following the US president's speech in Cairo, when the same question was asked by the same pollsters and Israel's support was only 49 percent.

The number of Americans who think America should support Israel over the Palestinians also increased considerably over the last two months, with 63 percent saying the US should support Israel, and 24% saying it should support the Palestinians. In June, that number was 44% for Israel, and 32% for the Palestinians.

In contrast to the June data, a majority of Americans now believe that Netanyahu's government is committed to reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians, while a majority do not believe either the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas, or Hamas, are committed to peace with Israel.

According to the poll, 57% of the public believes Israel is committed to peace, and 39% said they do not think the government is committed to an agreement. In June that number was 46% saying Israel was committed to peace, and 39% saying it was not.

By contrast, only 36% of the respondents thought that the PA was committed to peace, and 30% believed Hamas wanted an agreement.
In a question asking whether one felt 'warm or cold' about leaders, Obama barely beat Netanyahu 59-56 (out of 100). The poll also found that Americans favor permitting 'natural growth' of existing 'settlements' 72-23 and favor requiring the 'Palestinians' to recognize Israel as a Jewish state by 95-5!

Maybe Obama should be seeking advice from Netanyahu rather than lecturing him. It is clear that Netanyahu is a much more deft politician.



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