CNN Poll: Majority of Americans side with Israel in Gaza fighting
July 21st, 2014
05:01 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Majority of Americans side with Israel in Gaza fighting

Washington (CNN) - A majority of Americans say Israel's military actions in Gaza are justified, with only four in 10 saying that Israel has used too much force, according to a new national poll.

But a CNN/ORC International survey conducted Friday through Sunday also indicates that favorable opinions of Israel have edged down since earlier this year.

The poll was released Monday, as the death toll in the current conflict soared.

Death toll mounts as U.S. pushes for cease-fire

Monday Palestinians officials reported more killed, bringing the death toll to around 550. It's unknown how many were militants, but the United Nations has estimated that 70% are civilians. Israel announced Monday that seven more of its soldiers were killed, bringing to 25 the number of Israeli soldiers who have died. Two Israeli civilians have also been killed.

According to the poll, 57% of the public said the Israeli actions against Hamas, the Palestinian organization that runs Gaza, are justified, with just over a third saying they are unjustified.

Forty-three percent of those questioned said Israel's using about the right amount of force, with 12% saying they're not using enough. Nearly four in 10 said Israel is using too much force in Gaza.

"Attitudes toward Israeli military action have been extremely stable over the years," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In 2012, an identical 57% thought that Israel's actions against Hamas in Gaza were justified. And in 2009, the number of Americans who felt that way was only a few points higher, at 63%."

"Support for U.S. military aid to Israel also remains fairly stable, with almost two-thirds of Americans saying that U.S. assistance to Israel should be increased or kept the same," Holland added.

The survey indicates that 38% have an unfavorable opinion of Israel, up 14 percentage points from February. Sixty percent said they have a favorable opinion of Israel, down from 72% in February. But that 60% favorable rating is three times higher than the 20% of Americans who have a positive view of the Palestinian Authority, the governing body that runs the West Bank.

If the bloodshed continues for a while, don't be surprised if some partisan bickering over the fighting in Gaza breaks out in the United States as the poll suggests a partisan divide.

Forty-five percent of Democrats questioned said that Israeli's military actions in Gaza are justified. That number jumps to 56% among independents and 73% among Republicans.

Photos: Israel's ground offensive in Gaza

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from July 18-20, with 1,012 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


Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • CNN/ORC poll • Gaza
soundoff (273 Responses)
  1. channel

    It's funny, I've actually gone in the opposite direction with my opinion. I started out very sympathetic towards the Palestinians and what I see as Israeli apartheid. But Hamas is holding Gaza hostage and using them as meat shields, while Israel is simply trying to defend itself. I am totally in favor of Israel storming into Gaza and taking out Hamas once and for all.

    Civilians always die in war, but losing 1000 in a three month regime change operation is a lot better than slowly bleeding out 10,000 over the next 40 years of an endless game of cat and mouse. Let Israel do whatever it needs to do to topple Hamas, then bring back the Palestinian Authority to Gaza.

    July 22, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. J

    I'm happy to see that not all Americans are blind to the Zionism of the illigitimate State of Israel. It looks like a lot of responders here know "what's up". Israel should not be a nation. I was wondering, just this morning – had Hitler never existed, had the Holocaust never occurred, would there even be an Israeli State? Probably not.

    July 22, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  3. Katie

    With more than 322 hundred million Americans I simply can't give any validity to a polling of only 1012 citizens to use as proof as to what we believe. Polls can be skewed to get any result you want. It all depends on who is being polled and the question being asked.

    July 22, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  4. jeff

    I feel for both sides but only one side is out for the extermination of the other. The religious fever of extreme Muslims is about the same as the Spanish inquisition, either convert or be a slave or die.

    July 22, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  5. mark

    the Muslim world and liberal world is silent in the face of genocide taking place in most Muslim countries by Muslim terrorists and yet when Israel defends itself they suddenly wake up from their slumber this proves that they are motivated purely my the oldest form of racism "anti Semitism"

    July 22, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  6. Cal

    Of course they do. One-sided presentations from an Israeli dominated press would lead to that. Americans do what they are told. Ever heard of manufacturing consent?

    July 22, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  7. Cnet

    Here's the difference between the two sides:

    If Hamas was today to come out and say, "Okay. That's all. We're laying down our arms and are destroying all of our weapons. We want peace." There would be peace immediately. On the other hand, if Israel was today to come out and say, "Okay. That's all. We're laying down our arms and destroying all of our weapons. We want peace." They would be immediately invaded and massacred by the surrounding Islamic nations who all want them gone.

    Israel is a lone ranger, non-Islamic nation who is constantly being threatened, prodded and challenged by the surrounding nations. Their military prowess is the only thing keeping the outcast nation in existence. The motto for Hamas for crying out loud is "We love death as much as you love life." Hamas is destroying Palestine by constantly attacking Israel, then retreating behind women and children.

    July 22, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  8. FHTEX

    Given that the mainstream media is 100% behind Israel and never shows the maimed limbs and damaged eyes of little Palestinian boys and girls nor the wails of their mothers nor the fact that Gaza is basically the largest open-air prison in the world, with no unfettered outside access to the world, I am amazed that even 34% of Americans support the Palestinians. Given that our government deems Hamas a terrorist organization even though it has never attacked Americans and considers it a crime to even support humanitarian efforts by Hamas and that no American politician dare criticize Israeli actions, I am amazed that 34% of Americans support the Palestinians. It must be because of the hundreds-to-one disparity in civilian deaths and the damaged Palestinian schools and hospitals –what used to be viewed as slaughter–that a large percentage of Americans have finally had enough of the brutality of Israel's 40-year occupation of Palestinian territory.

    July 22, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. r

    This is a bogus poll posted by israel cronies , how these people are killing innocent Palestinians, If one Israeli dies there will be 24 hours coverage but hundreds of Palestinians die, it is to protect israel. what a lie, i thought CNN was a unbiased channel not any more

    July 22, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. Herbert Kaine

    On one side you have Israel who values life of both themselves or their enemies. On the other side, you have the democratically elected Hamass government, who cheers at every Jewish civilian casualty and cries crocodile tears at their own casualties, and deliberately puts their own children in harms way. The existence of civilisation demands that Israel wins

    July 22, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. brian clancy

    57% of the American public are in the tank for Israel because they've never actually heard an honest, independent word about what the 260 billion dollars of US aid to Israel has wrought on the region.

    Thes are the same Americans that watch the twin towers collapse and asked, "What did we ever do to deserve this?"

    When a CNN reporter gets immediately reassigned to Moscow when she is physically threatened by Sderot Israeli trailer trash and correctly surmises that some of our wonderful ally's citizens are "scum", when a reputable Arab reporter for NBC has his first-hand story of the indiscriminate killing of four 11 year-olds on an open beach yanked, you have all of the evidence necessary to conclude that there is a very concerted and equally dishonest presentation of reality in Palestine, and it's not going to improve anytime soon.

    July 22, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. John

    Israel could destroy Hamas if they wanted to, but they know even more Innocent people would get killed because Hamas hides behind innocent people. Heck they tell people to leave before they make strikes. So sorry, but in war innocent people will get killed. But since Hamas wants EVERY Jew dead, Isreal has the right to protect its people.

    July 22, 2014 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. Elizabeth

    I find it sick that we give Israel $8B in foreign aid that could be used to improve our schools, take care of our elderly and improve our infrastructure, and instead innocent children in Gaza are killed. Our Congress does not represent the American people but do the biddling for the 1% from Wall St. are are doing it with our tax dollars. Washington politicians beholden to Israel where they put their interests first and put interest of the American people on the back burner so to speak. It's time to vote all of them out (that means the ones in your district because you can't do anything about your neighbor's Congressman) and boycott products and services that have a vested interest in this inhumanity against Palestinians.

    July 22, 2014 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. Amy

    That's because the majority of Americans are ignorant. Both Israel and the Palestinians need to knock it off and share the land. And shame on America for condoning this behavior. It is morally WRONG!

    July 22, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  15. Elizabeth

    I find it sick that we give Israel $8B in foreign aid that could be used to improve our schools, take care of our elderly and improve our infrastructure, and instead innocent children in Gaza are killed. Our Congress does not represent the American people but do the biddling for the 1% from Wall St. and are doing it with our tax dollars. Washington politicians are put their special interests first and put the interest of the American people on the back burner so to speak. It's time to vote all of them out (that means the ones in your district because you can't do anything about your neighbor's Congressman) and boycott products and services that have a vested interest in this inhumanity against Palestinians.

    July 22, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. Treebeard

    concerned citizen

    BS! Israel is doing the same thing that Hitler did to their people! They are now just repeating same tactics ! Stop support Israel until they get rid of right wing government!
    --------------------------------------------------

    WOW, when did Israel start shoving Gazans into ovens ?
    I must have missed that.

    July 22, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. Pragmatic Progressive

    Excellent piece on breaking the cycle of violence: http://www.winningprogressive.org/breaking-the-israeli-palestinian-cycle-of-violence

    July 22, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. 2_indy1600

    Hard to empathize with people who elect a terrorist organization to govern them, use them as human shields, and refuse peace negotiations because they "haven't done enough damage to Israel yet." Please. Does anyone need the definition of terrorist anymore? Look to the actions of Hamas.

    July 22, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  19. OhGodHelpUs

    This is amazing. Palestians were living on their own land, they are then kicked out of their homes and land, killed, starved, and blockaded on all directions and Americans support Israel. Wake up America Israel is sucking you all dry through the banking industry, poisining your minds thru the media they own, and have put this country in debt thru wars.
    Your Congress is in their pockets and no politicians (except those with some compassion and do not fear to speak truth) will dare speak out against them. Wake America. My God Wake Up.

    July 22, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. kebcarerra

    No , the US people do not side with Israel , the pole is BOGUS . If the American public knew that it was their weapons killing woman and children they would be appalled . The real news is , we don't need to side or sell weapons to anyone that does what Israel is doing . America is tired of the same old lies .

    July 22, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. LOL

    American Media including CNN is bought out by AIPAC lobbyists, but many americans arent buying Israels story. Israel is a terrorist nation whos attacked the United States before to get us into their wars. Rememeber the USS Liberty. We have politicians here who wont get elected unless they pledge allegiance to a foreign country... Israel. Since our politicians and our whore media are both willing to side with a foreign country, i say move there since you prostitute yourself for them.

    July 22, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. citizenUSA

    Hey "david", your comment so untrue. Most of what I see on American TV is the Palestinian suffering. All the supposed and actual innocents being killed. Bulidings being bombed and such. I just saw this morning about a hospital in Gaza being hit with rockets. Everyone in the building crying they're just doctors and patients. Then it's explained that Hamas intentionally puts their rocket launchers by buildings like schools and hospitals as a deterrant. So Hamas is putting their own people in harms way.

    July 22, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  23. christie

    I believe this poll reflects the views held by most Americans.
    Hamas is a terrorist group, and Palestine has voted them into power.
    It is clear since their tunnels have been found that they have been planning this assault for a long time.
    Israel has a right to defend itself against the terrorist attacks by Hamas.

    July 22, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  24. Lucas

    It's nice to know that America is on the right side of this conflict. The 34% naysayers are the same anti-war, hippie crowd that has opposed every military action by the US and it's allies since Korea.

    July 22, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  25. @lex

    This is because the media in America is pro-Israel. Americans are brainwashed into believing the Palestinians are the problem, when it is actually Israel who's the troublemaker, constantly stealing Arab land to make settlements for newly arrived European Jews.

    July 22, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
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