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Friday, December 11, 2009

J Street's pollster finds 41% of Israelis view Obama favorably

Desperate to make President Obama appear beloved by Israelis, Haaretz publishes poll results that purport to show that 41% of Israelis view Obama favorably, while 37% view him unfavorably.
U.S. President Barack Obama has a higher approval rating among Israelis than is widely believed, undercutting arguments he has lost Israeli public support for new peace efforts, a poll said on Thursday.

The poll by the Washington-based New America Foundation found that 41 percent of Israelis had a favorable rating of Obama against 37 percent who rated him unfavorably.

Despite this, 55 percent of Israelis polled said they thought Obama did not support Israel against 42 percent who said he did - a reflection of the "complexity of views" about the U.S. leader as he presses both Israel and the Palestinians to resume stalled peace talks.

"They genuinely admire and like him ... but at the same time they also want to feel that he is in their corner, and they have concerns over this," pollster Jim Gerstein said in an email message.
Politico reports based on this poll that 39% of Israelis still believe Obama is a Muslim (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

Haaretz also reports that the poll showed that Israelis still support the 'peace process.'
Gerstein said that, in contrast to widespread media reports of low Israeli public support for Obama, the poll of 1,000 Israelis showed more support and solid backing for a possible future U.S.-brokered peace deal with the Palestinians.

"Israelis believe peace is necessary, but they currently do not feel a sense of urgency to reach a final status agreement with the Palestinians," Gerstein said in his report, adding that Obama had a chance now to persuade Israelis it was time to
reach an agreement.

"There are real opportunities for the president and his team to speak directly and convincingly to the Israeli people," the report said.
And the poll makes Prime Minister Netanyahu seem less popular than Israeli polls have shown.
The poll found that while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a modest 48 percent approval rating, he was deemed strong on all issues related to security -- indicating potential support for any deal he might strike with the Palestinians.

"Netanyahu's security image translates into 59 percent support for 'any agreement Netanyahu reaches with our enemies,'" the poll report said.

The poll found that while Israelis were largely confident of U.S. backing, there was widespread fear that this support could crumble if Israel rejects a future U.S.- sponsored deal with the Palestinians.

"Ultimately, the public is evenly split (48 percent each) over whether to support or oppose the prime minister if he rejects the U.S. proposal," it said.
So what's odd about this poll? Perhaps the least odd thing is that the poll was carried out a month ago (November 8-15) and the results are only now being published.

But the biggest question is why was this poll taken by an American pollster and not an Israeli one? Haaretz doesn't tell you that, but I will. The New America Foundation is run by Daniel Levy, who was a co-founder of J Street. And the pollster interviewed is Jim Gerstein, whom Politico describes in a different post as "a key figure in the left-leaning Jewish group J Street." Gerstein is far more than that. He's J Street's fixer.

Haaretz, all Left, all the time.

More on the poll here.


At 1:49 AM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

J Street is on crack...

At 2:40 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The poll is on crack.... they must have taken a sample of Meretz and Labor voters. No one in Israel seriously believes 41% of Israelis view Obama favorably. More mainstream polls show between 4% and 10% of Israelis support him, which means those who are inclined to vote for Meretz. Just who is Haaretz trying to kid?


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