Democrats support Palestinians over Israelis for the first time: poll

"Many elected Democrats claim to be pro-Israel, but party activists and rank-and-file members are increasingly indifferent and even hostile to the Jewish state."

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
A new poll has found that more Democrats back the Palestinians over Israel in the Middle East conflict for the first time ever, placing the party in opposition with not just Republicans but the US electorate as well.

According to a new Gallup poll, 49 percent of Democrats say that their sympathies are more with Palestinians versus 38 percent who sympathize more with Israel. 13 percent said their sympathies were with both sides, neither side, or that they had no opinion.

Democrats’ favor of the Palestinians has more than tripled over the past twenty years from a low of 16 percent in 2003 and their support for the Israelis has tanked from a high of 58 percent in 2014.

The number of independents who support the Palestinians over the Israelis has increased 21 percentage points to 32 percent over the previous decade, but the majority, 49 percent, still support the Israelis even though the number has dropped 14 percentage points from 2013.

Over the past 20 years, Republican attitudes toward the conflict have remained consistent with 78 percent favoring the Israelis compared to 11 percent who support the Palestinians. 

In January 2018, Republican support for the Israelis was at a high of 87 percent before falling to 76 percent in 2019 then bouncing back to 86 percent in 2020

Americans overall support the Jewish state at 54 percent but sympathy for the Palestinians is at an all-time high of 31 percent marking the first time Israel has not had a more than 2-to-1 advantage over the Palestinians among Americans

Generationally, support for Israel is highest among Baby Boomers with 46 points, Generation X with 32 points, and the Silent Generation, those born between 1928 and 1940, at 31 points. 42 percent of Millennials support the Palestinians and 40 percent support Israel.

According to Gallup, the poll results are partially due to the polarized political climate.

However, Gallup also stated, “The escalation of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities over the past year, resulting in a high number of Palestinians killed, could partly explain the most recent shift in Democrats’ perspective.”

There has also been a greater trend of progressive media covering the side of the Palestinians more favorably than the Israeli position, and advocacy for the Palestinians on college campuses, as well as among some progressive lawmakers, has also increased.

“But Democrats’ waning religiosity may be a factor in the longer-term trend. Sympathy for Israel has historically been highly correlated with religion, with those attending religious services weekly being much more sympathetic to the Israelis than those who seldom or never attend.”

Republican Jewish Coalition CEO Matt Brooks said in a statement, "This is an extremely troubling trend. Many elected Democrats claim to be pro-Israel, but party activists and rank-and-file members are increasingly indifferent and even hostile to the Jewish state. It’s long past time for Democratic leaders to admit they have a problem that must be addressed to restore the historic bipartisan support for Israel."

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