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Wide partisan gaps in opinions of Israelis, Palestinians WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 24, 2018) – A substantial majority of Americans – 64% – say they have a favorable opinion of the Israeli people, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center. However, fewer than half (41%) have a favorable view of the Israeli government; a larger share (51%) views the government unfavorably. 

The public also expresses more positive views of the Palestinian people than the government. While nearly half (46%) view the Palestinian people favorably, just 19% have a favorable opinion of the Palestinian government. (There are two Palestinian governments, one on the West Bank and the other in the Gaza Strip. To make this question accessible for respondents, and to provide a comparison with views of the Israeli government, the question asks about the “Palestinian government.”) 

The survey finds large partisan differences in opinions about both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples and their governments. 

While majorities in both parties have favorable views of the Israeli people, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are more likely than Democrats and Democratic leaners to say this (77% vs. 57%). 

The partisan gap in opinions of the Israeli government is even wider. By nearly two-to-one (61% to 32%), Republicans have a favorable view of Israel’s government. By contrast, two-thirds of Democrats view Israel’s government unfavorably, while just 26% have a favorable opinion. 

Democrats have much more positive views of the Palestinian people than do Republicans. A 58% majority of Democrats express a favorable opinion of the Palestinian people, compared with only about a third (32%) of Republicans. Majorities in both parties feel negatively toward the Palestinian government, but a greater share of Republicans (81%) than Democrats (65%) view it unfavorably. 

This survey also finds that half of Americans say Donald Trump is “striking about the right balance” in dealing with the two sides. Roughly a third (34%) say Trump is favoring the Israelis too much, while 6% say he is favoring the Palestinians too much. 

A wide majority of Republicans and Republican leaners (79%) say Trump is striking the right balance. Few Republicans say he is favoring either the Israelis (11%) or the Palestinians too much (3%). Conservative Republicans (84%) and moderate and liberal Republicans (73%) largely agree that Trump is taking the right approach to the Middle East. 

About half of Democrats and Democratic leaners (53%), on the other hand, say Trump is favoring the Israelis too much; 29% say he is striking about the right balance, and 8% say he favors the Palestinians too much. By a wide margin, most liberal Democrats (66%) say Trump is favoring the Israelis too much. Moderate and conservative Democrats are more divided: 43% say he is favoring the Israelis too much, while nearly as many say he is striking the right balance (38%). 

The survey was conducted April 1-15 among 10,523 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points for results based on the full sample. 

Read the report:

A new perspective on Americans’ views of Israelis and Palestinians For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Bridget Johnson at bj******@pe*********.org or 202-419-4372.  Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take policy positions. The Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. Subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters or follow us on our Fact Tank blog.