Poll: U.S. attitudes on Gaza conflict unchanged from 2002

Julie Wiener

NEW YORK (JTA) — Americans’ attitudes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are little changed from 2002, a new Gallup poll found.

The poll published Tuesday and conducted Aug. 2-3 found that Americans’ views of the conflict have changed little over the past 10 days — or the past 12 years. Respondents are about evenly divided over whether Israel’s actions in Gaza are justified, and respondents viewed Hamas’ actions mostly critically.

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Opinion is “little different” than during a similar Israel-Gaza conflict in 2002, Gallup noted.

The report found that those “paying closest attention to the conflict” are more likely to say that Israel’s actions are justified and that American attitudes “have remained remarkably unchanged,” compared with two weeks ago and also 12 years ago.

“This suggests that Americans may have responded to both crises in ways that reflect their basic attitudes toward Israel and the Palestinians rather than the specifics of either conflict,” the Gallup report said. “In general, Americans rate Israel much more favorably as a country than the Palestinian Territories, and are much more likely to say they sympathize with the Israelis than the Palestinians when asked to choose between the two sides.”

The poll found that only 19 percent of Americans reported using social media to follow news of the conflict “a lot” or “some.” In contrast, 55 percent said they use TV or cable news for “a lot” or “some,” 39 percent said the Internet and 27 percent said newspapers.

The attitudes of those following the conflict via social media are “only marginally different” from the attitudes of those using other sources of news and information, the report said. Of those who reported heavy use of social media as a news source on the conflict, 49 percent said they believe Israeli actions are “mostly justified.” The rate was 55 percent for heavy users of television and cable news; 53 percent for users of Internet news and 54 percent for heavy users of newspapers.