Poll: Young Adults Show Less Support for Israel in Hamas War

Image: Poll: Young Adults Show Less Support for Israel in Hamas War (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 09:41 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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American support for Israel in its war with Hamas is showing signs of weakness among young adults and minorities, a new poll shows.

The Pew Research Center survey reveals that overall, 40 percent of Americans blame the Palestinian terror group for the fighting, compared to 19 percent who fault the Israelis, a difference of 21 percent.

But among various age groups, the attitudes are substantially different. Fifty-three percent of Americans in the 65 and older category lay the blame on Hamas, while only 15 percent say that Israel was the instigator. However, among Americans age 18 to 29, 29 percent blame Israel, while 18 percent point to Hamas.

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Senior Pew researcher Alec Tyson said young people are less likely to support Israel because they often have no religious ties, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

"For age, we know that younger people are much more likely to be religiously unaffiliated," he said. "And white evangelical Protestants are really bolstering American support for Israel."

The poll, conducted July 24-27 among 1,005 adults, also showed that 47 percent of whites believe that Hamas created the latest Middle East crisis, while only 14 percent put the blame on Israelis.

Thirty-five percent of Hispanics say Israel caused the war, while 20 percent said Hamas was responsible. Blacks were equally divided on this issue, with 27 percent laying the blame on Israel and 25 percent on the Palestinians.

"I think to a certain extent that the African-American and Latino difference we now see is again due to white evangelicals being more supportive of Israel," Tyson said.

As for political differences, 70 percent of conservative Republicans blame Palestinians for the Israel invasion, versus 6 percent who believe Israel started it all. But liberal Democrats are evenly divided, with 30 percent on each side of the issue.

The poll also shows that 39 percent of Americans over 50 say Israel's response has been about right, versus 22 percent who believe its actions are excessive. But as for people under 50, 33 percent say Israel acted appropriately while 29 percent think the country has been too aggressive.

College graduates are closely divided between those who think Israel was over the top — 32 percent — compared to 36 percent who say that the nation had been about right in its reaction to Hamas' rocket attacks.

When it comes to political divisions, 44 percent of liberal Democrats claim that Israel's response has been excessive, while 33 percent think its reaction was fair. The figures steeply contrast with conservative Republicans, who favor Israel's action by 51 percent compared to just 10 percent who believe the country has gone too far.

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