A newly released Gallup survey reported that 49% of Democrats responded that “their sympathies lie with the Palestinians” as compared to 38% who favored Israel. This represents an increase of 11% increase in support for the Palestinians among Democrats in the past year alone. At the same time, the percentages sympathizing more with the Israelis (38%) and those not favoring a side (13%) have dipped to new lows.
In comparison, in 2016, 53% of Democrats said they sympathized more with the Israelis, and 23% with the Palestinians.
This trend is also apparent among independents whose support for Palestinians rose 6% to a new high of 32%. More independents (49%0 still favor Israel over Palestinians.
Republicans still favor Israel by a wide margin with 78% continuing to sympathize more with the Israelis while 11% side with the Palestinians. This represents a slight shift toward Israel over the past year and a slight shift away from the Palestinians.
Overall, sympathy toward the Palestinians among US adults is at a new high of 31%. The 54% of Americans sympathizing more with the Israelis is similar to last year’s 55% but is the lowest since 2005 and is the first time Israel has not enjoyed a better than 2-to-1 advantage over the Palestinians in Americans’ sympathies.
Sympathy for Israel is greatest among older Americans. Net sympathy toward Israel — the percentage sympathizing more with the Israelis than the Palestinians, is +46 with baby boomers (born from 1946 -1964) favor Israel, as compared to +32 Generation X (born 1965 -1980). This compares to 42 % of Millenials (born 1981-1996) who favor Palestinians and 40% who sympathize more with Israel, representing a steep drop in sympathy for Israel among Millenials in recent years.
Americans favor Israel over the Palestinian Authority, 68% versus 26%.
Gallup concluded that this dramatic drop in Democratic sympathy for Israel correlates to decreasing religiosity among that demographic.
“Americans’ views on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have become more polarized as Democrats increasingly commiserate with the Palestinians, while Republicans maintain their solid alignment with the Israelis The escalation of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities over the past year, resulting in a high number of Palestinians killed, could partly explain the most recent shift in Democrats’ perspective. But Democrats’ waning religiosity may be a factor in the longer-term trend. Sympathy for Israel has historically been highly correlated with religion, with those attending religious services weekly being much more sympathetic to the Israelis than those who seldom or never attend.
“Regardless of the reasons that Democrats’ (and, to a lesser extent, independents’) views have changed on the conflict, majorities of all generational and party groups still view Israel favorably and look more favorably on Israel than on the Palestinian Authority. This suggests that while rank-and-file Democrats may want Palestinians’ needs addressed, they will want solutions that respect Israel’s needs as well.”
These results are from Gallup’s Feb. 1-23 update of its annual World Affairs poll.