New poll debunks empirical reality, finds Americans don’t really back Israel

posted at 6:01 pm on August 5, 2014 by Noah Rothman

There are some tormented souls in this world who find self-evident and observable realities to be sources of endless frustration. For them, having a point of view which is not shared by the majority is so vexing that they are simply unable to accept it. They wonder the Earth in the tortured search for evidence that their ideology is no outlier, that they’re a part of a secret and silent majority. Fortunately, there is always a pollster or two out there willing to assist in this self-delusion.

To wit, a July 30 – August 3 Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey of Americans which asked respondents whether or not United States policy toward Israelis and Palestinians should be even-handed. You will not be shocked to learn that Americans want their country’s foreign policy to be fair-minded and neutral.

53 percent of those surveyed said the United State should not “favor one group over the other” in the present conflict between Israel and Palestinians. A minority, 34 percent, said that America should back Israel while another 4 percent said the United States should support Palestinians.

These results may seem incongruous with the other finding in this poll. A plurality,44 percent, said that Israel’s actions in Gaza – even those which the State Department called “disgraceful” – are “justified.” Another 32 percent said that Israel had “gone too far,” while 24 percent said they were not sure.

But the findings of this survey are neither inconsistent nor surprising. Note that survey framed the current crisis as an “Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” and not a war between Israel and Hamas, a group the U.S. State Department has labeled a terrorist organization. Furthermore, it does not take a social scientist to know that a majority of Americans prefer their country be fair and impartial in dealing with foreign actors (as opposed to terrorists). A rudimentary understanding of social desirability bias should have led WSJ/NBC pollsters to rethink this survey. Particularly so because this poll’s predictable results do not square with the findings of a number of other surveys which asked respondents essentially the same question.

For example, a WSJ/NBC News/Marist survey taken from July 28 – 31 indicated that 43 percent of Americans back Israel while just 14 percent support the various Palestinian factions in this conflict. But a more refined version of this question which asked Americans whether they back Israel over the actual combatant in this conflict, Hamas, found an even sharper divide. Only 7 percent of all respondents said they support Hamas while 54 percent backed Israel.

These findings are supported by a Gallup poll conducted from August 2 – 3. That survey, which also made the crucial distinction between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, found that while 42 percent of the public believes Israel’s actions in Gaza are justified, 39 percent believe they are not. That leaves one with the impression that there may be some merit to the NBC/WSJ poll’s results. However, Gallup also found that the public is far less forgiving of Hamas; only 11 percent said that group’s actions in Gaza are justified while an overwhelming 70 percent said that they are not.

Moreover, these findings are nearly identical to those of a Gallup poll conducted during a conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 2002. Then, more said Israel’s actions in that conflict were justified (44/34 percent) while a similar number of Americans were more skeptical of the justification for the P.A.’s actions (17/62 percent). This indicates that Americans’ views are not even especially dependent on the changing circumstances in Israel and the Palestinian territories. After 12 years, Americans’ support for its chief ally in the Middle East is relatively static.

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Even though the latest WSJ/NBC poll’s findings are deeply flawed, it has still served its purpose by giving left-of-center commentators statistical support for the illusion that Americans really want a policy that minimizes the historic alliance between Jerusalem and Washington. If that was the policy that Americans truly wanted, they would have it. But willful self-delusion is a powerful thing, particularly when there are willing pollsters out there happy to enable that condition.

This post has been updated since its original publication.


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Schadenfreude

Bmore on August 6, 2014 at 4:17 PM

jim56 on August 6, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Class, this post is a perfect example of why breakaway goalposts are now required equipment in any thread where Jimbo decides to troll.

Rather than address any of the eight facts presented, our troll decides to move the goalposts to invoke his standard MO of lies and projection, this time within an ad-hominem attack.

What is hilariously ironic about the ad-hominem attack and the websites named, is that just last week, our favorite wanker, as pointed out by Del, used a Rev. Moon website to try to substantiate an opinion being stated as fact…without reading the linked article to its conclusion where it actually supported the opposite of Jimbo’s assertion.

Sorry you’re all verklempt again bubala.

Athos on August 6, 2014 at 6:07 PM

That was a loaded poll. Of course people will say they want people treated equally

That is not the same as saying they give equal value to the causes

The Gallup poll “while 42 percent of the public believes Israel’s actions in Gaza are justified, 39 percent believe they are not”

Considering the unequal treatment of Israel and Gaza in the MSM, that poll indicates a strong thread of people not getting their education from the MSM. I suspect it correlates with attendance in church

I have a friend, a sweet little lady working into her retirement, who was surprised when I told her HAMAS had been firing rockets into Israel for a long time. She told me “I watch the news, and I never heard of any rockets” She does not use the internet. I pulled up a timeline and started naming the rocket counts by week. She still didnt believe. Somewhere she got corroboration.A week later she asked me angrily what is wrong with our news?

The polls are a test of how to fudge the message for political purpose, and they are a measure of how well the fudge is taking

entagor on August 7, 2014 at 9:30 AM

I find it difficult to change my mind about Israel after their attack on the USS Liberty and the coverup by Admiral McCain and our government backing McCain.

mixplix on August 7, 2014 at 11:58 AM

This sure proves the power of the media. The Democrats have always been antisemitic. And now do to the hand in hand partnership of the media and the Democrats they have continued to ignore facts and put out false information against the Jews. They have in fact sickened the public on Israel. This is why I continue to say that the Democrats will hold on to the Senate. Between the Mega dollars that Obama has stolen from American people and given to his buddies who in turn have feed some back to Obama, the fact that the Democrats and media are already lying in advertisement with no one calling them on it and we know that the media do nothing but print what the Democrats tell them to. The democrats have successfully convinced the low information voters that Israel is wrong in trying to protect themselves.

pwb on August 7, 2014 at 2:51 PM

I find it difficult to change my mind about Israel after their attack on the USS Liberty and the coverup by Admiral McCain and our government backing McCain.

mixplix on August 7, 2014 at 11:58 AM

.
Motive : . . . Why would Israel attack a Naval vessel that, according to yourself and others, they fully identified and recognized as belonging to the United States ?

listens2glenn on August 7, 2014 at 7:24 PM

I find it difficult to change my mind about Israel after their attack on the USS Liberty and the coverup by Admiral McCain and our government backing McCain.
mixplix on August 7, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Conspiracy theorist, huh? Also susceptible to 9/11 truther theories?

It was a tragic accident.

Do you also think the US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was deliberate?

bluegill on August 8, 2014 at 4:33 AM

.
Motive : . . . Why would Israel attack a Naval vessel that, according to yourself and others, they fully identified and recognized as belonging to the United States ?
listens2glenn on August 7, 2014 at 7:24 PM

Oh, don’t ask that. :-o

Conspiracy theorists are not short on theories about motives for such alleged acts. You’re going to regret asking.

bluegill on August 8, 2014 at 4:35 AM

These same respondents would have said in 1939 we should be even-handed with the Nazis and the Poles.

pdigaudio on August 9, 2014 at 12:40 AM

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