PRINCETON, NJ – Religious Americans are significantly more likely than less religious Americans to be sympathetic to the Israelis in the Middle East situation. Over the past 14 years, on average, 66% of Americans who attend church weekly or almost every week are sympathetic to the Israelis, compared with 13% who are sympathetic to the Palestinians. Sympathy for Israel drops to 46% among those who never attend church, still twice as many as the 23% who are sympathetic to the Palestinians.
These results are from an aggregated sample of more than 14,000 adults interviewed each February from 2001 to 2014 as part of Gallup’s Foreign Affairs survey, and asked in survey: “In the Middle East situation, are your sympathies more with the Israelis or more with the Palestinians?” Although Americans’ sympathies have fluctuated over the years, more have been sympathetic toward the Israelis than the Palestinians every time they have been asked. Overall, an average of 59% of Americans have been sympathetic to the Israelis and 16% sympathetic to the Palestinians, with the rest saying “both” or not having an opinion.
Religious Americans’ higher levels of sympathy for the Israelis have been consistent over the past 14 years, although percentages have fluctuated some from year to year. The difference between weekly church attenders and those who never attend has widened slightly in recent years, although it narrowed again in 2014.