Americans on Israel's side in Gaza ground attack

July 24, 2014, 1:55 PM GMT+0

Americans tend to side with Israel in the current conflict, though some are concerned about Israeli actions

By more than two to one, Americans take Israel’s side in its current ground and air campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, the public agrees that those attacks are justified – with Republicans especially likely to approve of the Israeli actions.

Democrats are conflicted. A third of them say Israel is justified, but nearly as many say it is not. And the largest percentage of Democrats, 38%, just aren’t sure. More liberals think the attacks are not justified than say they are justified.

Many women are unsure. There is a 16-point gender gap in the percentage of men and women who agree that the Israeli advance is justified. However, more than four in ten women aren’t sure.

Americans are much more likely to hold Hamas responsible for the current crisis than they are to put responsibility on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But that doesn’t mean that Netanyahu is totally blameless: 47% of the public says he deserves at least half the blame. But two-thirds say that about Hamas.

Three in four Republicans give Hamas at least half the blame. Just 40% of Republicans say that about Netanyahu. Democrats share the responsibility more evenly: 60% give Hamas at least half the responsibility; 54% say that about Netanyahu.

But some are concerned about Israeli actions. One in four believes Israel is using too much force in Gaza, with Democrats and those under 30 especially concerned. But more believe Israel is using the right amount of force; 15% (and nearly one in four Republicans) believe Israel is using too little force.

Americans recognize that the death toll is higher on the Palestinian side than on the Israeli side. 44% note this, though more than one in five say there have been more Israelis than Palestinian civilians killed, and a third admit they don’t know. But even those who know that there have been more Palestinians civilian deaths in the current conflict say Israel is justified in launching the air and ground attack on Gaza.

This regional conflict is one in which many Americans don’t want the United States to get involved. However, about a third think there should be some U.S. role (that is higher than the percentage who believe the U.S. should get involved in the current crises in Ukraine and Syria). Half of those 65 and older and nearly half of Republicans say the U.S. has a responsibility to take some action in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Image: Getty

Full results can be found here.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here.