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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hagel and the Israel Gap

The Pew Research Center finds that Hagel's lukewarm attitude toward Israel may be a big problem with Republicans.
Attitudes toward Israel and the Palestinians have become more divided along partisan lines: In December, 70% of Republicans sympathized with more Israel, while just 2% sympathized more with the Palestinians and 7% said they sympathized with neither side.
About four-in-ten Democrats (41%) sympathized more with Israel and 13% sympathized with the Palestinians. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to volunteer that they sympathized with neither side in the conflict (15% vs. 7% of Republicans) and to offer no opinion (27% vs. 18%).
The 29-point partisan gap in the percentages sympathizing more with Israel is about the same as it has been in recent years. But differences were more modest a decade ago, and in 1978, shortly after the Israel-Egypt peace agreement, the gap was just five points.The differences have widened as Republican support for Israel has grown and Democratic opinion has been more stable. In December, 70% of Republicans sympathized more with Israel, compared with 56% in 2002 and 49% in 1978. Among Democrats, the most recent measure (41%) was little different from the percentage of Democrats who sympathized more with Israel in 2002 (37%) and 1978 (44%).
Conservative Republicans favor Israel 75-2% while liberal Democrats are much more closely divided, 33-22%.