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.