Poll: Liberal Democrats’ Sympathies Now Lean Towards Palestinians Over Israel

By Patrick Goodenough | May 10, 2016 | 4:30 AM EDT

Israelis and Palestinians wave flags outside the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on May 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File)

(CNSNews.com) – Liberal Democrats in America sympathize more with the Palestinians than with Israel in the Mideast conflict for the first time in 15 years of Pew Research Center polling on the issue.

A recently-released, wide-ranging Pew poll on America’s place in the world found that 40 percent of liberal Democrats say they sympathize more with the Palestinians in the conflict between them, while 33 percent sympathize more with Israel.

At the turn of the 21st century, 48 percent of liberal Democrats sided with Israel, compared to just 18 percent with the Palestinians. Over the decade-and-a-half since, the margin has narrowed at times, but even a year or so ago Israel still enjoyed more sympathy from this cohort, by 39 points to 21.

This year for the first time the trend lines crossed, and now more liberal Democrats sympathize with the Palestinians, by 40 points to 33.

Another 10 percent of liberal Democrats said they sympathize with neither party, seven percent said they sympathized with both, and 10 percent selected “don’t know.”

Democrats described as conservative or moderate continue to sympathize with Israel over the Palestinians by a sizeable margin – 53 points to 19.

The percentage of conservative Republicans sympathizing more with Israel than the Palestinians is greater than ever over the past 15 years of Pew polling – 79 points to 4 – while moderate or liberal Republicans also sympathize more with Israel by a big margin, 65 points to 13.

The poll also found a significant difference in the views of respondents who support Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton and rival Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Clinton supporters sided with Israel over the Palestinians by 47 points to 27, while those backing the Vermont senator favored the Palestinians over Israel by 39 points to 33.

As for supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and those who supported since-withdrawn presidential hopefuls Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, all sympathized with Israel over the Palestinians by large margins – 77 points to 7 for Trump supporters, 80 points to 6 for Cruz backers, and 76 points to 5 in the case of supporters of Kasich.

In Pew polls over the year since 1978, Republicans have always been more supportive of Israel than Democrats, although generally by just a few percentage points.

Over the past decade the gap between supporters of the two parties has widened. In the latest poll, 75 percent of Republicans sympathize more with Israel, compared to 43 percent of Democrats, and 52 percent of independents.

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow