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Institute for Research:
Middle Eastern Policy

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Americans are not as sympathetic to Israel as Gallup claims

Pollster Gallup has claimed since the year 2001 that the majority of Americans (on average 59%) hold much greater sympathy for Israelis than for Palestinians (18%) "in the Middle East situation." Gallup releases its yearly results with titillating headlines, such as "Americans Remain Staunchly in Israel's Corner" (2018 poll) and “Israel Maintains Positive Image in U.S.” (2017 poll).

Gallup’s results are uncritically amplified by both mainstream and partisan news outlets as the single most reliable indicator of Israel’s high standing among Americans. Gallup also distills policy implications from its polling, such as “Americans would lean more on the Palestinians to make peace.” Gallup’s hasn’t missed a single year asking this question in surveys. This means Gallup alone can confidently tout historic high points, as it did in its 2018 survey results claiming “favorable views of Israel at 17-year high.”

Gallup’s polls have been repeatedly cited in the benchmark Congressional Research Service annual report U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel to explain Israel’s status as the leading U.S. foreign aid recipient since 1948.

“Though aid to Israel has both supporters and detractors, overall U.S. public support for Israel remains strong. According to a February 2011 Gallup poll that measured Americans' sympathies toward the disputants in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a near record-high 63% said their sympathies lie more with the Israelis.”

Using Gallup results as a proxy is necessary, explained CRS report author Jeremy Sharp, because “There is less specific public polling data on support for aid to Israel.”

Unfortunately for Americans, Gallup's results are wrong.

IRmep fielded Gallup’s precise “sympathy” question wording through Google Surveys April 2-10 targeting 2,044 respondents. The weighted results, based on 1,609 responses, are vastly different than Gallup.

Question: In the Middle East situation, are your sympathies more with the Israelis or more with the Palestinians?

 

 

The IRmep poll was fielded by Google surveys to 2,044 adult Internet users from April 2-April 10 and has an RMSE score of 6.8%. Demographic filtering and raw data are available online from Google.

The results are likely far more accurage than The Gallup Organization's serial polling which uses outmoded telephone surveys. Gallup also has known integrity issues, and paid millions in fines for alleged violations of the False Claims Act (see report links below).

 

No Opinion  51.1%  
Israelis 20.7%  
Both  10.5%  
Neither  9.7%  
Palestinians 8.0% 

Survey developed by: IRmep
Survey fielded by: Google Surveys 4/2/2018
Representative Sample size: 2,044
Google survey page (link)

Raw survey data from Google (Download)

In the News: Why Gallup Overstates American Sympathy for Israel: False claims and outdated methodologies fuel policy disasters

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