JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel ranked fifth among countries viewed most favorably by Americans, a new poll found.
Israel finished behind Canada, Britain, Germany and Japan in a February Gallup survey. Respondents were asked to provide their opinions on a list of 20 countries that also included the Palestinian Authority.
Some 67 percent answered that they have a favorable opinion of Israel, compared to 25 percent with an unfavorable opinion.
The telephone poll, an update of Gallup’s annual World Affairs survey, contacted 1,025 American adults between Feb. 1-3. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
Some 20 percent of respondents viewed the Palestinian Authority favorably, an improvement over last year’s total of 15 percent, placing it fourth from the bottom. Iran continued to rank last, with a 10 percent favorable rating.
Israel was the only country rated this year that is viewed more favorably by Republicans, with 80 percent of respondents identifying as Republicans viewing the country favorably, compared with 53 percent of Democrats.
Some 63 percent of those polled said their sympathies lie more with Israel than with the Palestinians in the current Middle East situation — the highest level of support for Israel in 19 years. About15 percent said they side more with the Palestinians, while 23 percent said they favor both sides, neither side or have no opinion.
Some 30 percent of Americans polled answered "yes, there will come a time" to the question, "Do you think there will or will not come a time when Israel and the Arab nations will be able to settle their differences and live in peace?"
It was among the lowest percentage to answer positively since Gallup initiated the question in 1997, according to the organization. Some 67 percent answered pessimistically.