The Growing Partisan Gap On Israel


Although Americans’ sympathies remain broadly on the side of the Jewish state, our views on the conflict are becoming more politically polarized:

73 percent of Republicans favor the Israeli side, compared to 44 percent of Democrats, and 45 percent of Independents. Moreover, this partisan gap has widened considerably since 1978, when the gap between Republicans and Democrats was only 5 percentage points.

Flagging the same poll, Ed Morrissey remarks that the dramatic increase in Republican support “may end up being worrisome to Israel in the long run”:

The US has a long history of bipartisanship when it comes to our alliance with Israel, even though some members of both parties have criticized it for various reasons. If this becomes another issue of partisanship testing, that will not benefit Israel, nor would it benefit our own politics.

On the other hand, every demographic in the survey has a plurality sympathizing with Israel by a wide margin. Even among the lowest levels of sympathy for Israel — liberal Democrats and religiously unaffiliated — the margins are double-digit at 39/21 and 36/20. There are substantial differences about the level of sympathy in the age demos, but not the balance of sympathy. The youngest demo, 18-29YOs, favor Israel 2:1 at 44/22, while among seniors it rises to 60/9.

Philip Klein adds:

Some political reporters like to talk about the “Sheldon Adelson primary” — of Republican candidates seeking the approval of the pro-Israel casino magnate. As the Pew poll shows, however, the whole idea of of an “Adelson primary” is a sloppy description of what’s happening within the GOP. In reality, support for Israel among Republican primary voters is broad and deep. A 77-percent to 4-percent issue among predominantly Christian conservatives is not representative of the party platform being overtaken by a small cabal of Jews. No Republican has a chance at the nomination if he or she is perceived as anything but a staunch supporter of Israel, and this goes far beyond Adelson.

But that means, of course, further enabling of Greater Israel’s maximal goals, and an ever-spiraling antagonism with much of the Muslim world. And you wonder why I’m resigned to an endless war.