Americans blame flotilla organizers for violence

Perhaps the only surprising outcome of the Rasmussen poll of likely voters on the Mavi Marmara incident is the striking, if unenthusiastic, consensus on blame.  Just short of a majority of all respondents blame the violence in the flotilla challenge to the Gaza blockade on the flotilla organizers (49%), while only a fifth blame Israel (19%).  The rest of the voters either don’t know or don’t care much about the issue:

Forty-nine percent (49%) of U.S. voters believe pro-Palestinian activists on the Gaza-bound aid ships raided by Israeli forces are to blame for the deaths that resulted in the high-profile incident.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 19% of voters think the Israelis are to blame. Thirty-two percent (32%) more are not sure.

But 51% say Israel should allow an international investigation of the incident. Twenty-five percent (25%) agree with the Israeli government and reject the idea of an international probe. Another 24% are undecided.

Thus far, support for Israel doesn’t appear to be overtly partisan.  Almost two-thirds of Republicans blame the pro-Palestinian activists (65/11), but a plurality of Democrats do as well (37/26), while independents almost exactly parallel the topline number (47/19).  Majorities of white and “other” ethnicities support Israel, but so do a plurality of black voters, while support for Palestinians is actually lower than in the general population (31/15).  Every age demographic has at least a plurality supporting Israel (with 18-29YO voters the smallest at 32/24).  The same is true for the income demos as well.

So who does blame Israel?  Not surprisingly, self-professed liberals, although by a small plurality, 34% to 28%.  Moderates support Israel, but also by a thin plurality, 33/27.  Those who “lean” into the political class also support the Palestinians, 31/21, but oddly those who fully embrace political-class status support Israel by a majority, 53/31.

For US policymakers, the lesson from these numbers should be clear.  Americans want to support Israel, and either way, they’re not terribly engaged about the controversy.