The majority of Americans support Israel, but people between the ages of 18 and 34 are less likely to have a high opinion of the conflict-riddled nation, according to a recent CNN/ORC poll.
Roughly 60 percent of Americans polled said they had either a “very favorable” or “mostly favorable” overall opinion of Israel, while only 20 percent said they had the same opinion about the Palestinian Authority, the governing body that runs the West Bank, according to the poll. A Gallup poll released Thursday showed a similar breakdown, with 42 percent of Americans polled describing Israel’s actions against Hamas as justified.
Support for Israel is dramatically less enthusiastic among younger Americans, according to the poll. As of July 20, only 12 percent of millennials surveyed had a “very favorable” opinion of Israel, compared to 22 percent of people between the ages of 35 and 49. Meanwhile, 10 percent of millennials said they had a very favorable opinion of the Palestinian Authority. In contrast, only 1 percent of people between the ages of 50 and 64 said they felt the same.
Younger Americans seem less inclined to support Israel since its “Operation Protective Edge” began earlier this month. Support for Israel was much higher when the 2012 clashes between Israel and Hamas in Gaza broke out. Then, 53 percent of the millennial demographic sympathized with Israel rather than Palestine. In 2009, during another invasion of Gaza, 42 percent of people polled between the ages of 18 and 29 sympathized most with Israelis, according to the Pew Research Center.
Race also plays a role in how Americans view Israel. The recent CNN/ORC poll found 25 percent of white respondents had a “very favorable” opinion of Israel, while only 13 percent of nonwhite respondents felt the same way. The Gallup poll released Wednesday said the number of white respondents who said Israel’s actions were justified was double that of nonwhites.
In 2012, the opinion gap between races was much smaller. A CNN/ORC poll at the time showed 64 percent of white respondents said Israel was justified in taking military action against Hamas, while 40 percent of nonwhites agreed.
Overall, the American public opinion of Israel has exceeded 60 percent in favorability since 2010 and reached a high of 64 percent in 2013.
The United Nations estimates that roughly 70 percent of people who had been killed up to last week in the ongoing conflict were Palestinian civilians, according to CNN.