November 19th, 2012
10:56 AM ET
1 year ago

CNN Poll: 57% of Americans say Israeli attacks in Gaza are justified

Washington (CNN) – A majority of Americans say that Israel's current military strikes against Gaza are justified, according to a new national survey.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday indicates that 57% of the public says Israel is justified in taking military action in Gaza against Hamas, with one in four saying the attacks are unjustified.

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The fighting began last week with rocket attacks into Israel from Gaza, to which Israel responded with an aerial offensive. Palestinian emergency services said Monday that nearly 100 people have been killed in Gaza, with around 750 injured. The Israel Defense Forces said three people in Israel have been killed, with nearly 70 injured.

The fighting has raised fears of a widening conflict, and the possibility of a repeat of Israel's 2008 invasion of Gaza following similar rocket attacks by Hamas into Israel.

"Although most Americans think the Israeli actions are justified, there are key segments of the public who don't necessarily feel that way," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Only four in ten Democrats think the Israeli actions in Gaza are justified, compared to 74% of Republicans and 59% of independents. Support for Israel's military action is 13 points higher among men than among women, and 15 points higher among older Americans than among younger Americans."

According to the survey, nearly six in ten say their sympathies are with the Israelis, with 13% saying they side more with the Palestinians and 11% saying their sympathies are with neither side in the conflict.

"That's nothing new," added Holland. "The number of Americans who sympathize more with the Palestinians has never been higher than 18% since the question was first asked in 1988. Sympathies for Israel have sometimes dipped below 50%, but have been over that mark for the past eight years."

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from November 16-18, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. LizinDC

    Am I incorrect in understanding that this started with the Israeli assassination of the top Hamas military commander?

    The CNN article makes no mention of this event as the trigger, but starts with the Hamas shelling which, if my memory serves me, was in response to the assassination.

    November 19, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    60 percents american support Israels. i do not believe that .

    November 19, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. America is for America

    Israel would have no problem killing innocent Americans. Oh they already do that. How many American activists have Israel killed. Tell us that CNN or maybe u can't because u will get fired by ur bosses since all of them love Israel more than america

    November 19, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    That is not surprising with all the misinformation the American people recieve from the Media. The percent is actually very good. Lets try showing the American people all the crimes that Israel is committing and you will see immediate difference. The American people are decent and despise anyone who kills children and women. Show the American people how many billions of dollars Israel is stealing from our taxes. Show them where that money is going and I can bit you that this percent will change immediately. Dare to show the truth to the American people! Show them how many young American soldiers died to defend the zionist state and how Israel misleasd us into the Iraqi ward and how it continue to spy on our government and steal our militeray secrets. Dare to show them. I know if you do you will not survive the AIPAC and Israeli lobby so I forgive you. Our hands are tied in America.

    November 19, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. jorge washinsen

    You just can't get it right in war.You kill a Hamas commander and it is wrong and it is wrong when you kill the innocent people. Just can't win.

    November 19, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. Joan

    Israel is an 'ill conceived ' nation!!! The only solution I see is that Israel or Egypt take GAZA in and make them part of their country!!! The Occupation is not working!!!!

    November 19, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. ellus jayus

    As a Democrat, I am appalled that only 4 in 10 of my party feels that Israel is justified in responding to the daily (and nightly) barrage of rockets that began long before the current Israeli stand. Almost everyone in the free world decries the loss of life but the real fact here is that Hamas and its offshoots are not waging war on Israel as a country but on Jews as a people. The question has been asked, "Who will Hamas & Co. target after they destroy Israel?" The answer is always, "The Jews (first), then the rest of the infidels." These are people who would sacrifice 1000 lives to kill one Jew. The culture of hatred is NOT tied to any land deal or occupation – it did not begin only in 1948 – so let's call it what it is and support our real ally in the Middle East, the tiny surrounded State of Israel.

    November 19, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Oh, I don't know. In a way they are in a way they aren't.

    Here's the thing: Why in the hell would a country with half-ass missiles that have a 25% chance of hitting their target start some crap with a country that has a helluva of a military and missiles that can shave the wings off of a fly?
    It just doesn't make sense.
    Let me tell you what else doesn't make sense- to me at least- us getting our war-weary military involved.
    Ever read the Prophecies of Nostradamus?
    This is some eery stuff.

    November 19, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. jorge washinsen

    Lets go down to the southern border and have a party-anywhere south of the canadian border will do just fine.

    November 19, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. reasonablebe

    what's amazing is that anyone would think Israel does not have the right to respond to the continuous shelling/rocket fire that has gone on for months. It is truly a show of incredible restraint that Israel waited so long to respond, and then only by carefully targeted action.

    that Hamas hides it's artillary by imbedding it in residential areas and near schools is not israel's doing or choice. Hamas has chosen to make its citizens subject to harm by violating all international rules of military engagement by doing so.

    can you imagine any other country sitting by and holding off if a neighboring country started lobbing shells or rockets across the border- let alone TRYING to target civilian populations and cities? right.

    If mexico did this to texas, you bet there would be immediate action. if germany did this to austria or switzerland, there would be immediate action. if the bosque did this to madrid, they would be occupied and reduced immediately.

    November 19, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. Bill

    I completely feel that Israel is justified in doing what they are, considering the rocket attacks from Gaza but, until an amicable 2-state solution is reached and implemented, this will continue for eternity...

    November 19, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  12. Ceci

    Avi, I concur with you that news media is one sided and political in that respect. I have not lived in Gaza, so it is wrong for me to condemn anyone or any country in that respect. I have a correction to make in you statement, though: Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed by two different bombs. Churchill and Truman wanted to see the damage each one will cause, the reason why they were thrown consecutively, before Japan could surrender. They were looking for the results of how powerful the bombs were. The two cities were experiments, the citizens, if today, lab mice. If you have a chance, visit Hiroshima, it is where you to wish for peace and be glad of your life (there is nothing condemning anyone). All countries and cultures have their own history, religion, beliefs, etc many people have not lived or even travelled abroad, to me, it is wrong to interfere with other countries' quarrels, just like it is wrong to interfere in family disputes, unless you are asked to do so.

    November 19, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. reasonablebe

    irt is amazing is that anyone would think Israel does not have the right to respond to the continuous shelling/rocket fire that has gone on for months. It is truly a show of incredible restraint that Israel waited so long to respond, and then only by carefully targeted action.

    that Hamas hides it's artillary by imbedding it in residential areas and near schools is not israel's doing or choice. Hamas has chosen to make its citizens subject to harm by violating all international rules of military engagement by doing so.

    November 19, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. DN

    'Dirk' (November 19, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm)
    Your anti-Semitic feelings are blatant and your ignorance is mind boggling.

    If I were in your presence, I would hold a child in one arm and punch your right in the face with the other. According to your feelings, you better not react - or everyone will see you hurting the child in my arm.

    November 19, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. Kareen

    Solution to all the problems is to have all the jews move to Texas.

    November 19, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  16. AngryJew

    Those are the numbers you get when you do your polling in Boro Park or Williamsburgh.

    November 19, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  17. America is for America

    America is for Americans and Americans don't kill innocent children like Israel. Shame on u CNN for ur bias and for misinforming the public to appease your owners who love and support Israel more than the country that made them the USA. Long live USA withouth Israeli parasites whom are sucking our resources dry to keep a land they revived because Europeans didn't want you there

    November 19, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. dwjhal

    It is sad that Israel has now become the oppressor. The only difference between the Israel occupation and the Nazi occupation are the uniforms.

    November 19, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  19. Jonathan

    jorge:

    You mean the Brits who effectively gave away a land (Palestine) that wasn't theirs? You mean the Brits and the famous boat exodus (Israelis) to the middle east, who really didn't give a damn but just wanted the them out of their hair? Those guys?

    November 19, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. Steve Jans

    Of course most Americans support Israel. They don't do beheadings in Israel or stone their daughters to death because they like someone from another tribe.

    November 19, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. jorge washinsen

    Does "waiting for moderation" mean what I think it do? Only CNN can get by with this because of the White House people employed there protecting our country.

    November 19, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. Kareen

    Those supporting Israel don't read past the Headlines.
    Forgotten is that the Israelis take more and more land away from the Palestinians and the Settlers kill innocent workers in the Olive and Fig groves.

    November 19, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  23. Gwats

    I don't back either aide !

    November 19, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  24. David Iganov

    Only 57%? I'm surprised it's so low. This nation is beginning to move forward.

    November 19, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  25. AngryJew

    Israel is stealing Palestinian land. That is the reason that the Palestinians are resisting the occupation.

    November 19, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
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