A majority of Americans believe Israel’s military attack on the Gaza Strip is justified, according to a poll released today.
Only a quarter of Americans think the Israeli response to rockets fired at the country’s cities is unwarranted, the CNN/ORC poll found, while 57 percent believe Israel’s response is proper, and 19 percent have no opinion.
Dozens of people in Gaza have died as a result of the attacks, which were launched last week in response to repeated shelling from Islamic militants in the region. The operation, dubbed Pillar of Defense, began with an airstrike that killed Hamas’ chief of operations. Three Israelis have died from rocket fire.
The last time Israel waged a major offensive against Hamas, in January 2009, 63 percent of Americans believed Israel’s actions were justified. In the poll released Monday, 59 percent of Americans sympathized with Israelis, and only 13 percent with the Palestinian people.
Democrats were far more skeptical of Israel’s actions than the public at large. Only 41 percent of party members, and 39 percent of liberals, believe Israel’s actions are justified. Support is also lower among non-whites and those ages 18-34. Support peaks among Republicans, 74 percent of whom support the response, and among those over 65.
President Barack Obama is supporting Israel’s actions, while at the same time trying to push for a cease-fire and avert a ground invasion of Gaza.
The poll was conducted from November 16 to November 18, and included 1,023 respondents nationwide. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.