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. Jeff

    Imagine if your sole reason for existing was to bother your neighbor. You sat there in a chair on your front lawn and threw rocks at your neighbors house nite and day. Could anyone really blame your neighbor if he came over and beat your ass. I would not blame him.

    July 21, 2014 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  2. LEOFACT

    A poll of 1012 adults represents America. Really? This is journalism at it's lowest with it's one sided bias agenda.

    July 21, 2014 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  3. Shoulder

    70% – 5-15% of children = 55-60% of "CIVILANS" holding a gun against IDF.

    July 21, 2014 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  4. David

    Palestinians lived there first, Israelis wanted to live there, and began slowly pushing Palestinians out. Palestinians begin fighting back, U.S. chooses to back Israel with money/weapon systems, while Palestinians, now called "terrorists" throw rocks at tanks... and gradually wind up living on a tiny strip of land... surrounded by walls, and are now being shot like fish in a barrel. It's ok folks, they're poor, and brown... that's U.S. policy around the world don't ya' know, lol. Nothing to see here, move along.

    July 21, 2014 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  5. jim overly

    we've just completed our own poll. we don't even know any palestinians, so, obviously, non were included. the result, after much thought; 100% feel that israel is not justified in this latest conflict, as their occupation of palestine is illegal in the first place – so, how can they claim they are being attacked, if they are the aggressors? an end to hostilities? return to united nations defined borders and live up to un resolutions.

    July 21, 2014 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  6. sbul

    As usual a poll asks questions that are designed to get the response they want. I wonder how americans would answer a question like: Do you support Israel's treatment of the Palistinian's ? Or do you think the Palestinians are justified in fighting Israel due to their policies towards them (Palistinians.)?

    July 21, 2014 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  7. taco

    I agree with John ,ANY and ALL countries in the world would answer back but since it is Israel there are double and triple standards ,you all forgot how the Palestinians celebrated 9/11...? It is just a miracle that the missiles from Hamas didn't cause more damage , those missiles would have killed thousand anywhere else in the World and Israel is the aggressor?

    July 21, 2014 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  8. sasss31

    If Israel was like the Palestinian terrorist side, they would wipe them out. Given all the considerations of facing an Islamofascist enemy that has used suicide bombers against her civilians, Israel is showing considerable restraint. On the other hand if Palestinian terrorists had their way, they would not stop until each and every last Jew was killed in a real genocide.

    July 21, 2014 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Truth is Israel has poured leaflets and sent massive texts out to neighborhoods where Hamas is imbedded in houses, schools. They tell their citizens not to leave. Hamas beats to death those young would be recruits who say no. They do not value life!! Israel is bombarded with rockets, over 2000. They protect life and invest in bomb shelters and the iron dome. Another fact everyone overlooks is our pres's brother Malik is affiliated with Hamas. I would much rather live in a democratic state than an oppressive culture that stones the gay community and brutalizes its own. So if I had to choose a God I would choose the one of freedom and love. By the way did the US go all out to protect citizens like Israel when we were in countries that uses women and children as shields. Also as the tragedy broke over the downed Malaysian jet and 298 lives were lost his response to that was not as concerned as it is over the 500 plus that refused to leave Gaza when warned.

    July 21, 2014 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  10. kentoboo

    I believe Israel is certainly justified in trying to stop the bombing of their country. I hope the U.S. never turns its back on Israel or the events that happened this past week will be but a drop in the ocean, compared to what will come!

    July 21, 2014 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  11. Florence

    I hate what I see happening to innocent people in Gaza. Wish that Hamas valued the lives of their own people enough to stop random bombings of Israel. Everyone agrees they love seeing the world reaction to the innocent lives being destroyed and so, despite ineffectiveness of their bombing arsenal, they will continue to shell out the money to send bombs as long as Israel retaliates in deadly actions.

    July 21, 2014 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  12. dr reality check

    If Hitler came back to life and ran for US President, 57% would vote for him.

    July 21, 2014 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  13. Justaguy

    Hamas can stop all this – they just don't want to. 50 years from now and thousands of their own dead – they will still be fighting an unwinable war – they will never subdue Israel – God is not on their side.

    July 21, 2014 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  14. nik green

    Americans get their Mid East news translated via MEMRI, the Mid East Media Research Institute. It is not concerned with real news dissemination, because it is a propaganda organization started by hardline Israeli Expanionism promoters Meyrav Wurmser and Ygdal Carmon – and it has successfully infiltrated every US mainstream news organization. It is o wonder that Americans do NOT get the real picture out of the mid east – regarding ANY topic, whether its the Iraq, or Afghan wars, to the Israel Palestine conflict. MEMRI have an appalling record of mistranslating stories from the mideast, to present Israel in a better light. This of course is natural.

    And... Americans have also been conditioned – for decades by Hollywood and the corporate media, to hate Arabs and Muslims. We are just responding to what our COMFORT ZONES dictate.

    July 21, 2014 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  15. denis

    i feal its sad haw americans view the conflict.the death toll,children being killed my god.we all understand the american policy.americans help only for oil.help gaza

    July 21, 2014 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  16. discgolfdave

    It's a problem that has been simmering for thousands of years. Two peoples who claim the same real estate. Two religious books that condemn the other party and sanction, even encourage, the killing of the other people. A race of people against whom a horrible holocaust was waged and their wish to re-occupy their historical homeland to escape persecution. Another race of people who were displaced by those wishing to escape persecution. They both have an axe to grind and that they are doing. I can only ask that somehow they resolve their differences, realize they have much more in common than most people of the world, and then embrace each other as the brothers and sisters they are.

    July 21, 2014 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  17. Maureen

    I am sick of Israel. It's a bully country. Bombing hospitals? Killing children? It's despicable. I am more pro-Palestine. But enough on BOTH sides. If Ireland and England can find peace after decades of bloodshed, so too can Israel and Palestine. They should be FORCED, by UN or NATO, SOMEONE, to talk peace.

    July 21, 2014 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  18. tupper

    Would they vote that way if you were talking or knew about the Americans killed and injured on the USS Liberty by Israel and the cover-up by the American Government to protect their relationship with Israel.

    July 21, 2014 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  19. Elizabeth

    Israel has created a monster, and now they are angry at the monster and want to kill it. Israel is using the huge amount it receives in military aid from the United States to try to eliminate Palestine and the Palestinians. But the Palestinians, in Gaza,, the West Bank and the diaspora cannot and will not be eliminated. The United States should not be so afraid of forcing Israel to agree to a two state solution with PEACE AND JUSTICE for the Palestinian people.

    July 21, 2014 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  20. rwhite

    Who are these people that comprise the 34%? They must be the same 34% that still like Obama. Do they really exist or are they a computer glitch? Whoever they are, please get a one way ticket to any other country.

    July 21, 2014 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  21. penny

    I am against the actions of Israel, I am an American and I am not Jewish but Christian American. I am sure the majority whom completed your pathetic poll are Jewish. You said majority...That is only because the Americans used in you poll were Jews. You forgot to mention that in your ridiculous article. The rest of us Non Jewish American are not supportive of Israel barbaric inhuman actions against civilians. That about fairness, but then again, the Jews do not know how to be fair. Correct! Also, the United States need to STOP funding Israel with our tax dollars. No your Poll is not Statistically logical nor correct for it does not emphasize that the majority who took the poll were American Jews.

    July 21, 2014 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  22. cdhaliwal

    Not for Israel ever, just a free American whose stupid ignorant USA government is controlled by Israel. Go Palestine, there is nothing wrong with protecting your human rights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 21, 2014 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  23. God is Yahweh

    I bet out of those 57% 90% are bible thumpers and out of those.. 70% are over 65.

    cant wait for the generational shift in the US.

    July 21, 2014 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  24. mike

    headline should read " 57% of americans support ethnic cleansing"

    July 21, 2014 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  25. SHF

    I don't believe for even a moment that 57% of Americans lack compassion. This sounds like propaganda to me.

    July 21, 2014 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
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