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Poll: What Americans think about the Israel-Gaza crisis

Dueling rallies in Chicago.
Dueling rallies in Chicago.
Scott Olson

Gallup has released the results of a poll on American views of the ongoing Israeli ground incursion into Gaza and larger Israel-Palestine issues, which it conducted on July 22 and 23. Gallup asked Americans whether they thought Israel's actions in Gaza were "mostly justified" or "mostly unjustified." Americans are split on that question, but overwhelmingly think Hamas' actions are "mostly unjustified." There are a number of other findings: Americans who have more education are more likely to support Israel's Gaza incursion, for example, while Americans under age 30 oppose it by a two-to-one margin.

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There a number of interesting findings in the survey:

  • There's a big partisan split. 65 percent of Republicans said Israel's actions were "mostly justified," while only 21 percent said they were "mostly unjustified." By contrast, only 31 percent of Democrats said Israel's were justified. 47 percent chose unjustified. Independents held similar views as democrats, with 36 to 46 saying justified versus unjustified.
  • Older Americans take Israel's side, younger Americans don't. A 24 point majority of Americans over 65 say Israel's actions were justified (55-31 justified-unjustified), while a 26 point majority of 18-29-year-olds said the reverse (25-51 justified-unjustified).
  • Americans who follow the conflict "very closely" overwhelmingly take Israel's side. Americans who care enough about Israel-Palestine to follow the story closely tend to be overwhelmingly pro-Israel. An enormous 71-24 percent of Americans following the situation "very closely" say Israel's actions are justified. Israel also wins a majority among Americans following it "somewhat closely," losing only among voters who describe themselves as "not closely" following.
  • More educated Americans also tend to support Israel. When you segment by education, the only group of Americans who don't think Israel's actions are justified are those who had only a high school education or less. Voters with some college, a college degree, or postgraduate degree all tended to see Israel's actions as justified. In fact, the more education someone had, the more likely they are to say they see Israel's actions as justified. A big majority (53-27) of Americans with post-graduate education say Israel's actions were justified.

The top-line takeaway here is that Israel seems to be in a very strong position with the American public in the near term with regards to its Gaza incursion. The sorts of voters most likely to be politically engaged — older, more informed about the situation, more educated — took Israel's side in the largest numbers. That may help explain why the US is so pro-Israel, although there are a lot of other forces at work there as well.

Israel's weak numbers among the young and Democrats may be a long-term problem for the country. But right now, in the current conflict, some crucial components parts of the American electorate seem to be taking Israel's side.