Tuesday, July 22, 2014

CNN/ORC Poll Shows Divide Between Democratic Voters and Democratic Pols on Israel

On Friday, the Senate passed a resolution offering its unwavering, unquestioning support for Israel's attack on Gaza by unanimous consent.

To be clear, "unanimous consent," technically speaking, is not the same as a 100 to 0 vote. There was no recorded vote. No senator had a give an aye or a nay. What it means, then, is that no one who was present objected.

41 members of the Democratic caucus openly supported the resolution: the 40 Democratic co-sponsors plus Harry Reid, without whose support it could not have gotten a vote. With the other 14, all we can say is that they "did not object"--whether that implies support or cowardice we do not know, although neither is admirable.

The consensus around Israel among Democratic politicians, however, is not one also found among Democratic voters.

CNN/ORC International just released a poll about American opinions about Israel's current attack on the Gaza strip. As one would expect, the numbers overall look very favorable to Israel. However, the top lines are not the most interesting part (they never are).

The poll showed that Democrats were split down the middle, something not reflected by the lopsided support within the Democratic caucus.

When asked about whether their opinion of Israel was favorable or unfavorable, 49% of Democrats said mostly/somewhat favorable, and 48% said mostly/somewhat unfavorable. That's margin of error. That contrasts sharply with the 63% - 34% (+29) favorability with Independents and 67% - 31% (+36) with Republicans.

When asked whether Israel was "justified or unjustified in taking military action against Hamas and the Palestinians in the area known as Gaza," 45% of Democrats said it was justified, and 42% said it was unjustified. Again, margin of error. This contrasts with 56% - 36% (+20) among Independents and 73% - 19% (+54) among Republicans.

When asked whether the "amount of military force that Israel has used in Gaza has been too much, too little, or about right," 51% of Democrats said "too much." 35% said "about right, and 6% said "too little." Among Independents, 38% said "too much," 16% said "too little," and 40% said "about right." Among Republicans, only 24% said "too much," with 15% saying "too little" and 57% saying "about right."

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