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. cslouisiana

    One group's attacks result in approximately 70% civilian casualties, while the other group's attacks result in about 7% civilian casualties. Who's the terrorist?

    July 21, 2014 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. Ben

    37% is plenty to shake the Israel-firsters out of congress. What Israel doesn't get is that this isn't about Hamas being bad and Israel being good. It's about Hamas being bad and Israel being just as bad.

    July 21, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. Dave

    Seems to be that Israel is doing the same thing to the Palestinians as was done to them 70 years earlier in Europe.

    July 21, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. Bob

    Isreal is a big bully. I wish someone would give the people in Gaza something to fight with.

    I remember last year reading a story about rockets from Gaza into Isreal. The claim was that 10,000 rockets had been launched at Isreal and only 10 people were claimed to be dead fro these "rockets".

    Isreal is running a concentration camp in Gaza. It is very ironic.

    July 21, 2014 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. RLR

    Religion, the scourge of the earth.

    July 21, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  6. Lyle Courtsal

    Only four in ten are humane; others seem to be dealing with the giant sucking black hole of death in Gaza like it's a monday night footbal game. No one gets that this is another energy war too. Could've done an energy transforation 40 years ago, but no, four rigged elections ensured that that would never happen. 31,000 homes destroyed of damaged, little or no potable water; we lose 300 homes in a wildfire and people are all over that. Maybe it is like a video game; we are always the one firing, not the one getting shot. And when the battle is over online, we can just get up and live on another day; surreal for us; death-dealing for them. Happy drug war.

    July 21, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  7. caeser

    Gaza = Warsaw ghetto.How is it different

    July 21, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  8. supporter

    I agree. i say use more force, otherwise Hamas will draw this out for years and years until this is the normal state of being for everyone. Hamas revels in death and their Jihad will continue until anyone who is not muslim is dead.

    July 21, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  9. Bridget

    Pushed into a corner, an animal will attack. Cut off water, food, economic independence, and personal integrity – watch out. What is the endgame for a desperate population? I don't know how anyone could not opt-in for engagement with the. Israelis.

    July 21, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  10. OBAMA - THE OPEN BORDERS PRESIDENT

    If Hamas would quit firing hundreds of rockets randomly into civilian areas they might get some sympathy from those other than the far left fringe. Israel needs to take its time and take out tunnels and anything else that can do harm. It has taken pains to not hurt civilians but they are not fighting with reasonable or logical people. You won't see even this administration chastise Israel too much because this is totally justified. Many other nations would just shot back indiscriminately.

    July 21, 2014 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. David

    Those that are condemning Israel are playing right into Hamas's strategy as described by former President Clinton:

    Hamas was perfectly well aware of what would happen if they started raining rockets in Israel,” Clinton said. “They fired a thousand of them. And they have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so that the rest of the world will condemn them.”

    July 21, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  12. somervillechangeling

    As a Jewish Christian, I support Israel, but what saddens me this time was the far right wing Jews who murdered the Arab teen. I really do not want to see the Torah violated by the few who think that it's fine to treat Arabs the way Arabs have treated Jews since the pogroms called for by the Mufti in the 1920's.

    I do feel bad about Palestinian civilian deaths in Gaza, but there's been as many people killed as collateral damage by American drone strikes over the years, not to mention when we invaded Iraq. No civilized army tries to kill civilians, and no terrorist group cares about civilians they use as shields, let alone the ones they murder.

    There will be peace, but only after Jesus returns to rescue His bride the church, after God the Father judges sin and after the world is redeemed. Until that time, all we can hope for is limits to violence, but how can there be an end to violence when one religion declares holy war and idolized martyrs while the other is just trying to live in the land that God established for them thousands of years ago?

    July 21, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  13. Judy

    I side 100% with Israel on this one. They are fighting a terrorist organization, like so many imbedded throughout the Middle East. Israel needs to go in and take care of business once and for all. They were supposed to demilitarize, and instead they fired rockets at a nation that wasn't firing anything. Some day... I hope in my lifetime... the Middle East people will rise up and take down all of these terrorist organizations. That is what it will take.

    July 21, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. carl nelson

    REMEMBER. Corporate Media told us we needed to Invade Iraq .. This same corporate media tells us WE support Israel..

    July 21, 2014 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  15. anthony

    the un has to go after the criminals who are hiding in Qatar They are crininals cuz they order their people to die and they enjoy themselves overthere. israel do what you have to do , i feel no nercy to the stupid palestinians

    July 21, 2014 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  16. Larry

    To Ray, That is funny because I wish somebody would have thrown your mother down the steps when
    she was pregnant with you & while we are there, lets end your family line right now & do humanity a huge favor.

    July 21, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  17. janeboha

    Not only are Israel's actions justified, but they are NECESSARY. Morally and ethically necessary.

    July 21, 2014 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  18. Larry

    To Queenslady, First of all it really was genocide, the Israelis are horrible at it.Second of all, The palis should happy that they are fighting jews & not their fellow arabs. You know what I mean. ie., Assad, Saddam, Khadafi etc. etc. etc.

    July 21, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  19. vasechek

    looking at the numbers, those who never attended college are all over the place with about 1/4 each with very fav, mostly fav, mostly unfav, and very unfav view of israel, but with those who went to school israel wins by a landslide.
    the poll numbers are also slightly skewed because 1/3 more respondents identified as democrat than republicans and the former have more mixed views of israel than the latter (possibly because more people who haven't gone to school identify as democrat). independents have views pretty similar to republicans'.

    interesting poll, cnn

    July 21, 2014 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  20. mary

    Gee the results of this poll wouldn't have anything to do with the entire media establishment is pro Israeli would it?

    July 21, 2014 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  21. Clarity

    I am quite sure virtually no one polled has set foot in Gaza and in Israel let alone experienced having their family tossed out of their home of multi generations and then living their life in what is more like an open air prison. Most Americans it seems just love war and violence......the more the merrier.

    July 21, 2014 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  22. rick

    Yes. Israiel does have the right to do what it is doing. Its a ploy of the terrorists to shoot civilians and then yell out for a camera to film the bodies. Then slink out of lens view. When a spot where they are holed up gets hit.. The suvivors start tossing explosives into homes all around the target to kill as many others as can to claim innocent victims. It has been a tactic that has been used by them for years. Trying to con the media into publicising their version for simpathy. Every funeral is a staged event for the cameras. But. Wont show the bullet holes on camera. Because a AK47 in the back is different than a aimed shot from front. And anyone with real combat experence would see the difference real fast and ask questions. They want to avoid any possibility of who is realy shooting the civilians and blowing up homes to be shown..

    July 21, 2014 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  23. qer

    These numbers show declining support for Israel in the most pro-Israel country in the world, the USA, but it is amazing that still 57% support Israel after 500 dead and thousands of injured.

    July 21, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  24. Schillmer Goldenber

    Israel massacres the Palestinian people and justifies their actions simply by saying "it's war". As I recall, no civilized nation would justify this sort of wanton destruction. How long is this horror going to continue before sane people are heard?!

    July 21, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  25. Be Honest

    This poll and it's results are garbage. Honestly, garbage in, garbage out. Americans don't even know where Palestine is or what happened to that beautiful country. Ask the participants to watch a 9 minutes video on You Tube , it is called (The True History of Palestine) and then run the poll. Americans are good honest people. Stop writing lies about what Americans think is justified.

    July 21, 2014 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
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