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Poll: Americans’ views on Mideast largely unchanged

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Americans’ views on Middle East issues have not changed in recent months, despite major headlines from the region, according to a new poll.
The Pew Research Center poll, conducted during the end of May, found that Americans still sympathize with Israel over the Palestinians in their ongoing conflict by 48 percent to 11 percent. Those numbers are on par with an April survey that found Americans supporting Israel over the Palestinians 49 percent to 16 percent.

The unchanged support for Israel also comes after escalating tension in the U.S.-Israel relationship, including President Obama’s declaration that a two-state solution should be based on the 1967 border lines with mutually agreed land swaps.

As a group, self-identified conservative Republicans had the most sympathy for Israel at 75 percent, compared to 32 percent who identified as liberal Democrats.

According to the May poll, 50 percent of Americans said they believe Obama is striking the right balance in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, 21 percent said he is favoring the Palestinians too much and 6 percent said he is favoring Israel, with the rest unsure. Those numbers are nearly identical to the Pew poll in April.

Regarding the Arab Spring events, 23 percent said they thought the changes will be good for the United States and 26 percent said they will be bad. Thirty-six percent said the Arab Spring will have no effect on the U.S., and the rest were undecided.

Views about whether the events would lead to lasting improvements in the region dipped slightly: 37 percent said they believed they would, down from 42 percent who thought so two months earlier.

The poll had a sample size of 1,509 adults and a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

A separate poll commissioned by the Israel Project found that a majority of U.S. voters would oppose a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has indicated he will seek from the United Nations in September.

Fifty-seven percent polled June 5-7 said they would oppose such a move, up from 51 percent in April. One-quarter of voters said they would support the declaration, down from 31 percent in April.

The Israel Project survey polled 800 registered voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46 percentage points.

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