September 16, 2019

Is the US too supportive of Israel? That depends on one’s political affiliation

Last Friday, the Republican Jewish Coalition released a statement expressing concern over the “clear ‘Israel Gap’ between the parties. Republican support for Israel is 25 points higher than Democratic support, and according to Gallup, only a bare majority, 53% of Democrats, express sympathy with Israel.” This gap is not a new phenomenon, and should give the ever-concerned Jews yet more cause for concern. Three years ago, only 31% of Democratic respondents supported Israel’s Cast Lead operation in Gaza (compared to 62% of Republicans). Two years ago, I reported that the gap between Democrats and Republicans on Israel was “higher than ever,” following a Gallup poll in which there was a 37% difference in support between voters of the two parties.

In the most recent Gallup poll, the one highlighted by the RJC, 78% of Republicans sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians, while the percentage for Democrats is 53% (Independents tend to behave more like Democrats when it comes to Israel: 56%). While I do not much like this question – supposedly making the sympathizing with Israel/Palestine a zero sum game – it is a common measure of Israel’s favorability among Americans, and as you can see in the Gallup graph, in this age and decade Republicans tends to be stronger on Israel than Democrats: