New Poll Shows Strong and Stable U.S. Support for Israel in Third Week of Conflict with Iran-Backed Hezbollah
Americans Overwhelmingly Name Iran and Syria as Supporters of Hezbollah
Unquestionable Understanding of Israel’s Motivation to Protect Its Citizens from Attack and Strong Belief That Israel’s Actions Are Justified
Washington – The Israel Project released a poll today of American voters which shows strong and stable support for Israel. It also shows an overwhelming understanding of the support for Hezbollah by Iran and Syria and an equal understanding that Hezbollah is motivated by a desire to act on behalf of Iran and Syria in their goal of destroying Israel. American voters agree just as strongly that Israel is justified in its actions and is motivated by a desire to protect its citizens from attack.
When voters were asked if Israel was justified or unjustified in its actions in Lebanon, 67 percent believe Israel’s actions are justified, while only 21 percent believe they are unjustified. The vast majority of voters (68 versus 21 percent) understand that Israel is targeting Hezbollah strongholds and strategic areas as opposed to indiscriminate attacks.
“Despite a series of dramatic events over the past week – the bombing of a civilian apartment building in Qana, a brief ceasefire and an escalation of the ground war by the Israelis – the American public remains strong and stable in its views of the conflict,” said pollster, Stan Greenberg, PhD. “Voters believe Israel is justified in its actions in Lebanon and believe the Israeli military is targeting strategically and not indiscriminately,” concluded Greenberg.
Given this strong and stable support, a majority of American voters maintain support for Israel’s continuation of military operations against Hezbollah in Lebanon by a margin of 51 percent versus the 38 percent who say Israel should stop.
In the third week of the conflict, one of the most dramatic results is the growth of American understanding of the role Iran and Syria play in the conflict and the understanding that Hezbollah is acting on behalf of their sponsors’ desire to destroy Israel. Voters were asked separately, in an open-ended response (where they supplied the answer and multiple answers were allowed), who are the main providers of support for Hezbollah’s activities. During the first week of the conflict 38 percent named Iran and 36 percent named Syria, while 46 percent did not know. In the new poll, 56 percent said Iran and 51 percent said Syria, and the number who answered don’t know was down to 32 percent.
“Americans stand with Israel. They understand that both Iran and Syria are backing Hezbollah and, additionally, that Hezbollah is acting as the proxy for Iran and Syria’s ultimate goal of destroying Israel,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founder and president of The Israel Project.
Three questions tried to determine what Americans understood about the motivations of the various parties in the conflict. First, respondents were asked if they thought Hezbollah was motivated in the current conflict by an effort to try to help and protect the Shiite community or if they were acting for Iran and Syria in trying to destroy Israel. Sixty seven percent (67%) said Hezbollah is acting on behalf of Iran and Syria while only 14 percent said they are trying to help and protect the Shiite community. On the Israeli side, voters were asked if they thought Israel was protecting itself from attack or was pursuing expansionist policies into Palestinian and Arab lands. Seventy four percent (74%) thought Israel is protecting itself from attack while only 16 percent believed Israel is pursuing expansionist policies. Finally, respondents were asked whether they thought Israel and its policies or Islamic extremism was more responsible for instability in the Middle East. Islamic extremism was the cause in the minds of 63 percent, while 15 percent thought Israel and its policies was the cause.
The poll also showed both that Americans have a very positive view of Israel and an overwhelmingly negative view of Hezbollah and its supporters, Iran and Syria. When asked to rate their feelings on a scale of 0 to 100, where zero meant very cold or unfavorable and 100 meant very warm or favorable, Israel was rated positively while Hezbollah, Iran and Syria were rated negatively by a wide majority of likely voters.
Israel received a very warm/favorable rating from 53 percent of the respondents and they received a very cold/unfavorable rating from 19 percent of respondents, while they received an average or mean rating of 63.1 percent. Conversely, Hezbollah received a very cold/unfavorable rating from 72 percent of likely voters while they received a very warm rating from just 4 percent and an average or mean rating of 13.7 percent.
Iran was rated negatively by 74 percent and received a positive rating from only 7 percent with an average or mean rating of 21.4 percent. Syria received a cool rating of 54 percent, a warm rating of 9 percent and an average (or mean) rating of 28.6 percent.
For full results of the poll, please click here
The first poll was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner with 1,000 likely voters between July 16-18, 2006. The question referenced was asked of half of the respondents. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent. This survey was conducted jointly with Public Opinion Strategies of 850 likely voters, August 2-3, 2006. The margin of error is +/-3.4%.