January 9, 2013

As Hagel Fight Begins, Wide Partisan Differences in Support for Israel

For decades, the public has sympathized more with Israel than the Palestinians in the Middle East conflict. However, the partisan gap in sympathies, while little changed in recent years, is as large as it has been in more than three decades of polling.

Discussion of the U.S.-Israeli relationship is likely to come to the fore with the nomination of former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel as President Obama’s new secretary of defense. The choice of Hagel has drawn criticism from some of his former Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill, who have questioned whether he has been supportive enough of Israel.
In a Pew Research Center survey conducted last month (Dec. 5-9), 50% of adults said they sympathized more with Israel in its dispute with the Palestinians. Just 10% sympathized more with the Palestinians, while about as many (13%) volunteered that they sympathized with neither side.

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