The American public approves of Israel-UAE agreement

August 20, 2020, 4:30 PM UTC

Peace agreements between Israel and Middle Eastern nations are rare, as most Arab nations there continue to view Israel as an enemy. So, the recent agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, officially normalizing relations between the two countries, has been greeted with majority approval (54%) by the American public in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll.  

This compact is only the third agreement between Israel and an Arab country in the Middle East, with the UAE joining Egypt and Jordan in establishing relations. 

Approval is bipartisan, even though most Americans haven’t heard very much about the agreement, in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to postpone the planned annexation of West Bank settlements. More than two-thirds of those who have heard anything about the agreement approve, but so do a third of those who have heard nothing at all about it (hardly any in this last group disapprove). 

Americans overwhelmingly think of Israel as an ally or a friend to the United States, and while they are less likely to have any opinion at all about the UAE, those who do are much more likely to view it as a friend than not. However, Democrats are less likely than Republicans to view both these countries as friends and allies. 

Foreign Policy

Republicans in recent Economist/YouGov Polls have consistently thought more positively about Israel than Democrats do. In this poll, as in many previous Economist/YouGov Polls, a majority of Republicans call Israel an ally.  

President Donald Trump is not getting much of a positive polling bounce for his work on this peace agreement. In this poll, Americans disapprove narrowly of how the president is handling the Middle East, not much different from perceptions in 2018 and 2017. 

When it comes to foreign policy in general, especially international crises, the public is even less sure about the current president. Among the overall public, 38 percent say they have confidence in President Trump’s ability to deal wisely with an international crisis, but about half (51%) are uneasy. 

Americans are split on how the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, would handle an international crisis. About two in five are confident (42%) in his abilities while the same number (42%) are uneasy.

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll  

MethodologyThe latest Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US registered voters interviewed online between August 16 – 18, 2020. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.4% for the overall sample.  

Image: Getty