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. txan

    Sure American side with Israel. The US propaganda machine has backed Israel forever. I side with neither and think we should leave them alone until they get sick of killing each other. Then, and only then, they may decide that talking is better than killing.

    July 21, 2014 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  2. Joe

    When was this poll conducted? Nobody asked me anything.

    July 21, 2014 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  3. Think Again

    I think in everyone's blood thirsty, Republicanesque, bomb anything and everything that moves mentality ....they've forgotten that the land actually belonged to Palestine to begin with, a hundred years ago. How can you just take something and keep taking and taking? Shame on Israel! But don't worry, the US will keep finding your greediness.

    July 21, 2014 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  4. Skarphace

    To those saying that the Israeli action in Gaza is unjustified, let me ask you this. What if one of the cartels in Mexico started lobbing rockets into our southern states? Would we allow Mexico to stop us from going in there and taking them out?

    July 21, 2014 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  5. Skarphace

    Gurgyl: "I bet these idiots of merciless killers are Republican trash. Justified? Nonsense. Civilians are getting killed. Do they have brain? Kids, women are getting killed."

    The question is: who is at fault? Who lobbed rockets into the other territory first? Who started this newest fareup in the conflict? Who is using civilians as a human shield? Who serves to gain more, politically by the loss of civilian lives in Gaza? Who will not stop until either they are all dead or all of Israel belongs to the Palestians?

    The answer to all of these question is Hamas.

    July 22, 2014 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  6. Christian Onfire

    This was shared by a person that it's not about kand, it's not about power but this fight is about Muslims who hate Israel or Jews and want to see them eradicated at least from Arab.

    People have forgotten or they never cared about learning that who is supposed to be there.

    History tells us that Israel has been living in Jerusalem for at least 3000 years.

    Muslims and Palestinians actually took over Jerusalem in 1244 a.d. which was taken back by Israel in 1967.

    Muslims and Palestinians are playing politics with their own children by putting them in the war zone in order to make Israel look bad.

    In my opinion, Muslims think they are very smart and cunning, and they can fool the western world by doing doing so. But many people in the western world now understand Muslim mentality that for their evil purposes they can use their own children as human shields then, how dangerous and cruel they could be.

    In hatred they don't even care a about their children then how far they can go ?

    July 22, 2014 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  7. Just to cover all the normal perspectives here

    "It's Obama's fault!"

    "Moscow not responsible; Ukrainofascists responsible."

    "Guns don't kill people. People kill people. With guns."

    "It's still Obama's fault."

    "God is angry at you. That's why it happened."

    "My dog has fleas, and it's ALL OBAMA'S FAULT!!!"

    July 22, 2014 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  8. Randy

    Pull all US funding for Israel and let the Palestinians get help from whoever (Iran, Russia, etc) to fight Israel.

    July 22, 2014 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  9. PC

    "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."

    So it would be OK if iron dome was less effective?

    July 22, 2014 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  10. A.L. Humanist

    Some of these comments seem a little confused to me. The fact that Hamas, like the Israeli military, obviously is not overly concerned about civilian casualties doesn't imply to me that we should be similarly complacent. If you ask me, a military operation where seventy percent of the people you kill turn out to be civilians is pretty ugly.

    July 22, 2014 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  11. Badfinger

    20% support for Hamass? Depressing that there are that many stupid people in America...

    July 22, 2014 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  12. toronto fan

    Israel has the right to defend itself, and Hamas has lost the sympathy of the world by routinely putting its weapons among the people who elected them to GOVERN them, not kill them.

    July 22, 2014 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  13. Jack

    In order to understand the current human rights catastrophe in Gaza and our country’s shameful silence towards Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people and disregard for international law and human rights, we need to be aware of the immense power the Israeli Lobby, specifically AIPAC, wields over our politicians. Two excellent sources provide invaluable insight into this: 1) “The Israel Lobby and Foreign Policy”, a New York Times bestseller written by prominent political science professors John Mearsheimer, from the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt from Harvard University and 2) “They Dare to Speak Out” written by former 22 year Illinois Congressman Paul Findley. Both books describe the stranglehold that the Israeli Lobby holds over our politicians and the steep political price politicians pay for challenging Israel in any way. As a result, we have the tragedy you see today; a blood crazed Israeli government committing mass genocide against a Palestinian people supported by billions of our tax dollars and our politicians and media too fearful to challenge Israel’s ruthless and genocidal tactics. The Israel Lobby was instrumental into getting us into the Iraq quagmire and they almost succeeded in starting a war with Iran. As Americans, we must reclaim our sovereignty over our foreign affairs and not outsource it to groups such as AIPAC whose main objective is to further Israel’s goals, and not ours. We mustn’t compromise our American values for the sake of AIPAC and its cronies.

    July 22, 2014 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  14. Bohemian

    Isreal burned a child alive.... speaks for itself

    July 22, 2014 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  15. Andrew

    When Hamas is destroyed Israel will have used the right amount of force. Kind of like when the Tea Party has been destroyed rational Americans will have used the appropriate amount of wisdom.

    July 22, 2014 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  16. Lola

    Israel only purpose is to bring calm and peace to their people, they love their country and people so they
    Would do anything possible to protect them wich is absolutely understandable and very much admirable
    Very different with the crazy Hamas terrorist group wich spend millions of dollars in constructing
    Tunnels to kill Jews instead of building schools and hospital for their people......
    The tactic of Hamas is Israelis kill as many civilians so the world think that Israel is the evil.... Point

    July 22, 2014 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  17. Name uche agonsi

    Any person who thinks that Israel should fold their hands to watch their people die under Hamas rockets is not seeking justice. It's a telling discomfort sharing relations with Arab Moslems.

    July 22, 2014 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  18. MJ

    | If too much force then why didn't Hamas accept a cease fire

    Hamas counter proposed. Why is there no coverage of this?

    July 22, 2014 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  19. imli

    no wonder,, the world thinks ,, US deserved 9/11

    July 22, 2014 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  20. Masab

    Biased Poll by CNN, You cant dare to speak against Israil as you are blind after you see there power and money etc

    July 22, 2014 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  21. Masab

    Biased Media!!

    July 22, 2014 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  22. Nadia

    I feel so sad when i read what pro israel people write. Israel has killed 570 palestinians in this past few days. And mostly children. People say that israel has a right to defend oneself. Its like the red indians of USA get weapon of mass destruction and then take over the entire US population and slowly kill them. You can say this land belonged to them so they only have the right to be in the US. So maybe people who type this should pack their bags and go back to europe where they came from since USA does not belong to them. Every human life is important and every soul is has value.I used to wonder why some Palestinian people would engage in actions that could only provoke the aggressor further. Then I realized that to ask a people to live quietly, while they have no justice and no freedom, is to ask them to live "peacefully" as slaves. "Peace" without justice or freedom is slavery. It's like asking a battered woman to live "peacefully" with her abuse. We all want the bloodshed to stop. But what about the daily humiliation and institutionalized oppression?
    I was reminded of a part in "The Hunger Games" when Katniss considers abandoning the resistance against the oppressor, in exchange for "safety". Gale's response was telling. He said: "Safe to do what? Starve? Work like slaves? Send their kids to the reaping?"
    Consider this: If a woman is being raped, things would be a lot more "peaceful" if she didn't resist. But, asking her not to resist–just because her attacker is physically stronger–is asking her to accept her own abuse and oppression for the sake of "peace". This is what the world is asking Palestinians to do.
    And sometimes what seems to the world as just ineffective tactics, like throwing a rock at a tank, is in fact an act of resistance. It is a powerful statement to the oppressor–and the world–that they refuse to be enslaved. That dignity and self-respect are even more beloved to them than their own lives.
    It is a statement that you can take their lives. But not their freedom.

    July 22, 2014 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  23. Nadia

    I used to wonder why some Palestinian people would engage in actions that could only provoke the aggressor further. Then I realized that to ask a people to live quietly, while they have no justice and no freedom, is to ask them to live "peacefully" as slaves. "Peace" without justice or freedom is slavery. It's like asking a battered woman to live "peacefully" with her abuse. We all want the bloodshed to stop. But what about the daily humiliation and institutionalized oppression?
    I was reminded of a part in "The Hunger Games" when Katniss considers abandoning the resistance against the oppressor, in exchange for "safety". Gale's response was telling. He said: "Safe to do what? Starve? Work like slaves? Send their kids to the reaping?"
    Consider this: If a woman is being raped, things would be a lot more "peaceful" if she didn't resist. But, asking her not to resist–just because her attacker is physically stronger–is asking her to accept her own abuse and oppression for the sake of "peace". This is what the world is asking Palestinians to do.
    And sometimes what seems to the world as just ineffective tactics, like throwing a rock at a tank, is in fact an act of resistance. It is a powerful statement to the oppressor–and the world–that they refuse to be enslaved. That dignity and self-respect are even more beloved to them than their own lives.
    It is a statement that you can take their lives. But not their freedom.

    July 22, 2014 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  24. pw

    Action is justified. Their actions are not justified.

    July 22, 2014 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  25. Justaguyinusa

    A poll of 1,012 out of 314 million us citizens – well I know I wasn't asked or represented by this prestigious and media influential poll

    July 22, 2014 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
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