A majority of Americans continue to view Canada and Great Britain as two of the nation's best allies, but fewer voters now believe that Israel is a close ally of the United States, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll
The survey finds that 54 percent of American voters view Israel as an ally of the United States, which is a decline from the 68 percent who felt the same in 2014 and the 74 percent who shared that view in 2012. Conversely, 86 percent and 84 percent see Canada and Britain respectfully as allies of the United States.
When broken down along party lines, 76 percent of Republicans still consider Israel a U.S. ally, while only 45 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of Independents consider Israel as a close friend. In fact, more Democrats (55 percent) view Mexico as an ally of the United States.
A February Gallup poll
found support for Israel high with 70 percent of Americans viewing Israel favorably, and 62 percent said they sympathize more with the Israelis than the Palestinians in the Mideast conflict. Just 16 percent sympathized more with the Palestinians.
However, support was much stronger among Republicans, and actually had increased from 53 percent in 2000 to more than 80 percent since 2014, according to the survey.
The percentage of Democrats sympathizing with Israel declined in the last year from 58 percent to 48 percent.
The percentage of Democrats viewing Israel favorably is also down, currently at 60 percent, vs. 74 percent a year ago.
The findings in the Gallup poll were largely reflected in a HuffPost/YouGov survey
conducted Feb. 4-8 concerning the invitation extended by House Speaker John Boehner to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress.
In that survey, 72 percent of Democrats said that the Republicans' invitation to Netanyahu was inappropriate, while just 29 percent of Republicans said the same. Fifty-three percent of Democrats said the president should still meet with Netanyahu, while among Republicans that figure rose to 77 percent.
A decline in support among Democrats has grown more apparent in the last few years as disagreements between the Obama administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have become more public and more frequent.
A July 24-27, 2014 Pew Research Center poll
showed that when divided into party affiliation, support for Israel is lowest among liberal Democrats with 44 percent saying Israel went too far in its military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.
Just 33 percent of Democrats believed Israel's response was measured, a contrast with the 51 percent of conservative Republicans who said their response was about right.
As many as 36 percent of blacks, who predominantly vote Democratic, say Israel had gone too far, while only 22 percent of whites held that view.
"The bigger issue is with the Democratic Party electorate, namely academic elites, African-Americans and younger voters. As those blocs of voters become more skeptical of Israel's right to defend itself — and that seems to be happening — that is going to make American Jews who are Democratic Party voters less comfortable in their own party," Noam Neusner, who worked for the administration of President George W. Bush as a liaison to the Jewish community told The Hill
last August in the wake of renewed violence in Gaza.
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