Haviv Rettig Gur
The Jerusalem Post
February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

Support for Israel among Americans is at a 19-year high, a February Gallup survey of American attitudes toward international affairs has found.

According to the telephone survey of 1,025 American adults conducted February 1-3, just 15 percent of Americans side with the Palestinians, while 23% either said they support both sides, neither side or had no opinion.

The support for Israel marks an upward trend since the mid-1990s, when Gallup measured readings as low as 38%, rising to 58%-59% between 2006 and 2009. According to a Gallup Corporation statement, The current level of support was last seen during the 1991 Gulf War.

The majority of the increase came among Republicans and independents, while figures among Democrats have remained the same in recent years, Gallup said.

Among Republicans, support for Israel rose from 77% in the past several years to 85% in the current poll.

Meanwhile, optimism regarding the future of the peace process was at a 13-year low.

Just 30% of respondents said “there will come a time” when “Israel and the Arab nations will be able to settle their differences and live in peace;” 67% did not believe this.

While noting that the current figures are similar to last year’s, they are among the most pessimistic findings since Gallup began asking the question in 1997, bested only by the 27% optimism rate in the midst of the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

Optimism was slightly higher among Democrats (39%) than Republicans (25%) and independents (26%), perhaps reflecting faith in Democratic President Barack Obama’s recent peace initiatives.

One clue to the pessimistic attitude of most Americans may be in their low opinion of the Palestinian Authority. Among 20 countries listed by Gallup that Americans were asked about in the poll, the Palestinian Authority came in among the lowest in approval rating, with just 20% approval. A Gallup Corporation explanation of its survey noted that, though low, this was actually one of the highest approval rates enjoyed by the PA since 2000.


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