CNN Poll: Majority of Americans side with Israel in Gaza fighting
July 21st, 2014
05:01 PM ET
5 months 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. Rudy NYC

    Israel has a right to defend itself. That works both ways. Hamas has a right to defend itself, too. The latest round of heavy rocket fire began shortly after Netanyahu declared that Israel's goal will be to exterminate Hamas. Shortly after that provocative announcement, 100 rockets a day have been flying towards Israel. It's almost as if someone said, "Okay, bring it. Let's do this."

    July 22, 2014 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  2. just asking

    Sniffit
    "CNN Poll: Americans clearly side with Israel in Gaza fighting"
    Reality: American MSM and politicians clearly train the public to side with Israel in Gaza fighting.
    There can be no peace when the party with the clear advantage of might is willing to continue using it (and abusing it). It's never happen. Israel creates more future generations of people who hate them every single time they knock down a school with a bunker bomb or kill Palestinians in a ratio of 500:1.
    -–

    ok, so you create more terrorists by killing the terrorists that have stated they want to kill you and destroy your country. so the israelis are supposed to just sit there and allow thousands of rockets to be launched at their cities and people. the usual total bs line of the left. hamas is the aggressor terrorist organization and attacker and israel has the right to defend itself any way they see fit. the palestinians voted for these terrorists and are now reaping the consequences of their stupid choice. israel has been far too patient because of fools like you. they should go in an just push all these terrorists into the sea, which is exactly what hamas wants to do to israel.

    July 22, 2014 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  3. Christian_Grey

    If 2,000 missiles from Cuba hit the USA there would be no Cuba...period. Go Israel may god protect you

    July 22, 2014 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  4. Seth DeKooters

    Given the stranglehold of Zionists over American media and political life I doubt these poll numbers, if accurate, mean anything. Zionist propaganda is so good most Americans still think that Saddam Hussein attacked the world trade center buildings. Zionism is a plague that bodes mill ill for the planet than does Ebola or Marburg viruses.

    July 22, 2014 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  5. zainy

    This is a bogus poll.... Not the truth. No one in their right mind can support Israel bombing on innocent civilians

    July 22, 2014 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  6. Christian_Grey

    For 2,000 there has always been Jews in the land now called Israel, the palestine people are made up and they need to live in peace or leave.

    July 22, 2014 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  7. B. Boneil

    Israel demonstrated great restraint in not using their full military force, when one considers Hamas fired 1,500 rockets into Israel. When that did not provoke Israel to retaliate, Hamas kidnapped and murdered three innocent Jewish teenagers. Who but the most biased of people could blame Israel for finally fighting back and defending their people and country from such continual abuse.

    July 22, 2014 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  8. Dave

    I don't know where they got those figures from, did they do this survey in NYC or something, I don't believe that the majority of Americans approve of the murder of innocent civilians.

    July 22, 2014 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  9. david

    Of course Americans will favour Israel since story is only one sided on American TVs , they don't show any suffering of Palestinian people but 1 rocket to Israel wow all over the news.

    July 22, 2014 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  10. GonzoinHouston

    It is useless to consider any action in this arena to be justified as proper punishment for someone else's attack. These folks have been trapped in a cycle of revenge for untold generations. At some point or other every group or side has owned the land, and all have some sort of claim on it. Every violent act can be justified by the other side's violent attack. The last viable plan for peace was by Ariel Sharon, and he was struck down by a stroke in the cruelest of ironies. Neither side is completely clean; neither is completely right or wrong.

    Realistically, Israel has to take some major action to stop the current round of rocket attacks. But what then? What will they do to prevent future attacks? They've controlled the West Bank and Gaza for 40 years now and are no closer to peace than they were on day 1. Israel has the military power and can set the policies for these areas. They need to consider that everything they've done so far hasn't worked.

    July 22, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  11. Malory Archer

    Christian_Grey
    If 2,000 missiles from Cuba hit the USA there would be no Cuba...period. Go Israel may god protect you

    +++++++++++++++++++++

    Why do you want Israel to attack Cuba?

    July 22, 2014 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  12. mpa2000

    What do you expect from a CNN poll? CNN is pro-Israel, therefore most of it's readers who take the surveys are also pro-Israel.

    July 22, 2014 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  13. Matt Lazarus

    Israel is the cause of this conflict - it has refused to compromise whatsoever on the root issues with the Palestinians. It continues to seize Palestinian land, it continues to build settlements, it continues to recruit Jews around the world to live in these settlements, it continues to harass Palestinians as they try to go about their daily lives, it imprisons Palestinians arbitrarily. There is absolutely no reason why the Palestinian people should be the target of Jewish anger and become the scapegoat for all the harm and injustice inflicted on Jewish people over the centuries.

    July 22, 2014 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  14. Get Really

    Why doesn't CNN do this poll among the Muslim Americans? First of all it wouldn't happen, even if it id, the results would never be published for the American people to see it.

    July 22, 2014 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  15. berniecat1

    not true , I and everyone I know sides with the Palestinians , period ! I have my entire life , been on the side that's right and just , not the terriost jews . they are the ones responsible for no peace in the region , they are after prime beach front land , period .

    July 22, 2014 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  16. Useyour

    WE Americans made this country the greatest country on earth – financially and militarily, through our sheer hard work, free spirit and determination. However, FEW Zionists, who controls our politicians and US media (through propaganda, just like this poll BS), used this country for the benefit of their Zionist dreams and has taken us to path of self destruction and bankruptcy just to protect their illegal Zionist country – Israel. Stop spending my hard earned tax dollars to feed this parasitic monster.

    America should do what best for American's interest, NOT Israel's.

    July 22, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  17. Keith

    I wonder if CNN asked, "Was Israel justified in rounding up, beating, and bombing thousands of Palestinians in retaliation for the brutal murder of 3 Israeli young men?" The slant on American "news" about the Middle East hasn't changed since I lived there
    in 1973.

    July 22, 2014 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  18. Senay

    What a surprise! The US corporate media has done a great job of demonizing and vilifying Palestinans for wanting to get out frm under the yoke of Israel for the last 50 years. We condemn Russia for invading Ukraine and put Russia under economic sanctions. Yet, here we have Israel illegally occupying Palestinian land and bombing them for daring to fight for their freedom. Ignorance is truly dangerous.

    July 22, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    The biggest obstacle to peace over the last decade has been Netanyahu himself. He comes to the negotiating table constructing settlements on disputed the lands that are under negotiation. Israel has never done this before until recently. Every U.S. president has made Israel stop the settlement building when sitting at the negotiating table, mainly because it was a carrot to get the Palestinians to the table.

    The GWB administration turned a blind eye on the settlement building, and never once tried to stop or slow the pace of construction. Why? The fact of the matter is that Netanyahu really doesn't want peace with Hamas. Netanyahu and the Bush administration got along so well because they had share so much common ideology. Netanyahu is a hard line, right wing conservative, and a war veteran who has never seen a war that he didn't want to fight. Why do I say Netanyahu doesn't want peace? Netanyahu recently vowed to completely eradicate Hamas.

    July 22, 2014 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  20. Bagocheese

    It's probably the same 37% that approve of obama's job performance. Half of them are brain dead and the other half reflexively take the contrarian position because they view that as deep and complex thinking.

    July 22, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  21. Watch international media for truth

    Go watch international media you will see that 500 innocent Palestinians have died, including some Christians!!

    July 22, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  22. CG

    The media is biased, not telling Americans the TRUTH or the other side of the story. Polls are generally biased. I know many Americans that do not support what Israel is doing in Gaza!

    July 22, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  23. Mark L.

    I ♥ ISRAEL !! I always have and always will. I am 52-years old and even at my current age, I would be more than honored to travel to Israel and serve in their IDF forces if I would be given the opportunity. Israel does a lot more for the USA then most people even realize. Israel is my beloved homeland !!

    July 22, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  24. Michelle

    I don't believe the attention is on Israel only! CNN is relaying the effects of this war from both sides. I stand behind Israel always. But the fact remains that, twice last week, there was a cease fire which Hamas would not abide by. So, what would you have Israel do? Sit back and let Hamas run rampid with the bondbardment of missels? NO!!! I believe both sides need to come to an agreement that benefits both of them. To much killing resolves no issues at at all. "UNITED WE STAND"!!! Lets not forgt this.

    July 22, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  25. Esteban cortes

    If you liberal you think just give a kiss and bare hug and that will taker of it what all of you don't understand and don't know those arabas don't likeanybody who is not MUSLIM they duty is exterminate anybody no muslim
    those peopleare cowords and barbaric now they don't want israel on the middleeast no matter what it should't exist
    American liberals elected a muslim president who deslike american due to his muslim religion liberals try to elected african american president but they elected an african muslim

    July 22, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
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