For the first time in decades, Democrats’ support for Palestinians passed support for Israel, increasing by 11% over the past year to 49% while the party’s positive view of Israel declined from 40% to 39%, according to a Gallup Poll released Thursday.
Anti-Israel sentiment has been increasing among the Democrat party, according to the poll, as both lawmakers and the Biden administration have been heavily critical of the U.S. ally following Benjamin Netanyahu’s return to power. Support for Palestine among Democrats increased significantly from 2022 to 2023, going from 38% to 49%, as support for Israel declined to 39%.
Democratic support for Palestinians has been steadily increasing over the past decade, according to the poll, but for the first time, their support for Israel fell behind. Independents’ Palestinian support also increased by 8%, while their sympathy toward Israel declined from 54% to 49%.
Republicans maintained steady support for Israel as they have for the past decade, according to the poll. Sympathy toward Israel increased by 1% from 77% to 78% and support for the Palestinian cause declined from 13% to 11% between 2022 and 2023.
Overall support for Palestinians increased to a record high of 31%, while Americans’ support for Israel hit a record low from 55% to 54%, and fewer voters than ever before are opting to take sides, with only 15% responding that they had no opinion on the subject, according to the poll. Younger generations were more likely to voice support for Palestinians, while older respondents from the baby boomers, Generation X and the Silent Generation largely threw their support behind Israel.
Millennials’ positive views on Israel have been on a steep decline since 2019 going from 32% to -2% in the past 5 years, according to the polls. Americans, however, view the Israeli government much more favorably than the Palestinian Authority at 68% and 26% respectively.
The poll notes that religion might have a part to play in the declining support for Israel.
“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,” the poll explains. “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.”
The poll was taken Feb. 1 through Feb. 23 and sampled 1,008 respondents, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.
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