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Saturday, December 2, 2006

Quinnipiac Survey: Israel's image improving rapidly in the USA

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2006/12/quinnipiac-survey-israels-image.html

Quinnipiac Survey: Israel's image improving rapidly in the USA

The periodic Quinnipiac survey  poll has surprising results regarding the image of Israel in the USA. The recent months have not been good for Israel in the US, to judge by several barometers. The Mearsheimer and Walt study attacked the "Israel Lobby." The FBI prosecuted AIPAC for alleged violations of US law, supposedly anti-Israel Democrats swept into power in the House and Senate and former President Jimmy Carter came out with his deliberately viciious and mendacious history of the Palestinian problem, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid. If the pollsters are right however, none of this is really indicative of the state of American feeling for Israel. The poll asks for people's opinion about how friendly or unfriendly particular countries are toward the US.
 
While Americans showed progressively warmer feelings for many countries, support for Israel increased more than support for any other country since March of 2006, and reaches 68%. Israel is number 3, behind Great Britain and Canada.  Among Republicans, Israel scored 73.4%, among Democrats 64.4%, among men, 73.1%, among women 63%.
 
The table below shows the scores of some different countries in surveys taken since last March.
 
  Nov.30 Aug.28 Jun.12 Mar.13
Canada                   73.4 71.7 71.4 70.9
England       78.9 78.3 76 76.4
Israel  68.2 65.9 62.9 61.8
Palestinians  23.8 22.8 25 24.6
 
Compared with March 13, support for Israel improved among all groups, as shown in the table below:
 
Perceive Israel as friendly to the US
 

Total

Men

Women

White
Protestants

White
Catholics

White
Evangelicals

Rep.

Dem.

March

61.8

65.3

58.4

64.4

62.1

64.0

69.6

56.3

November.

68.2

73.1

63.0

69.7

66.8

70.4

73.4

64.4

 
 
Contrary to stereotypes regarding "Christian Zionism," support for Israel among while Evangelical Protestants and "born again" denominations was only slightly greater than it was among all Protestants, including mainline Protestants, and it was lowest among Catholics.
 
Support for Palestinians was low across all groups and deteriorated slightly since March, except among women and white Catholics. As might be expected, women and Democrats, who gave Israel relatively lower scores, tended to give Palestinian government slightly higher scores, as shown in the table below.It is noteworthy that among Catholics and Democrats, both Israel and the Palestinians were perceived as friendlier in November than in March.
 
Perceive Palestinian Government as friendly to the US
 

Total

Men

Women

White
Protestants

White
Catholics

White
Evangelicals

Rep.

Dem.

March

24.6

23.1

26.0

24.4

25.5

24.2

24.5

25.5

November.

23.8

23.2

24.4

22.5

26.2

22.0

21.2

25.6

 
(March data are from here. )
 
Israel made has made steady gains, either despite or because of the war in Lebanon while support for Palestinians has not improved. Reasons for the improvement in support for Israel probably include the disengagement from Gaza, the rise of Hamas and the war in Lebanon, all of which may tend to support the perception that the conflict is not about "the occupation," but rather about the desire of Palestinian and Muslim extremists to destroy Israel. Israel may be seen as an ally in the war against terror and/or the Iraq war. The reasons for the steady gap in perceptions of Israel between men and women are not clear. They are all the more peculiar given the place of women in Palestinian and Muslim society.
 
The data suggest that at least in the United States, boycott and divestment campaigns and the other strategies undertaken to delegitimize Israel have not been effective. In particular, Americans apparently are not convinced by the claim of Mearsheimer and Walt that Israel is not a strategic asset, nor were they impressed by the FBI procedings against AIPAC.
 
According to these results, support for Israel in the USA is not due to "the Jewish vote" or "the Israel lobby" "neoconservatives" or "Christian Zionists," but rather reflects a fundamental sentiment that cuts across practically all sectors of the US population, like the affinity for Canada and Great Britain. While this sentiment fluctuates over time, support for Israel was already relatively high last March. Israel ranked third after Great Britain and Canada last March, and this relative ranking did not change. US political support for Israel is anchored in this sentiment and is not likely to be much affected by by anti-Israel propaganda.  The trends also suggest that the radicalization of the Palestinians, coupled with Israeli disengagement from Gaza have materially helped the image of Israel. Similar improvements were noted in Europe as well, however support for Israel in Europe is much lower.
 
The survey did not provide data on support for Israel as a function of education, income or age, which would have made possible more secure long term conclusions, as well as giving a better understanding of what the influential strata of US society believe.
 
Story copyright Ami Isseroff and Zionism-Israel News Servicehttp://www.zionism-israel.com  Survey data copyright Quinnipiac University.
         


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2006/12/quinnipiac-survey-israels-image.html. Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.

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