Confidence in Obama Continues to Climb Among Israeli Jews

— by David Streeter

The Pew Research Center released a new poll on Israelis’ views of President Barack Obama. According to Pew’s report, which comes after his highly successful trip to Israel, 64% of Jewish Israelis express confidence in the President. In addition, 93% of Israeli Jews characterize U.S.-Israel relations as “good.”

This poll is further proof that the more Israelis get to know President Obama, the more their confidence in him increases.

Click here for Pew’s full report, which surveyed 504 Israeli Jews.

New Poll Shows Why Jews Supported Democrats In 2012

A Century of Jewish Voting in America

— by David Streeter

The new polling data released by the Workmen’s Circle provides the clearest proof yet as to why the sweeping majority of American Jews voted to reelect President Barack Obama in 2012.

On the key domestic issues that decided the election, American Jews are firmly aligned with the Democratic Party. According to the survey, clear majorities of the Jewish community stand with President Obama and the Democratic Party when it comes to:

  • Spending on social safety net programs;
  • Helping the poor;
  • Preventing drastic cuts to Medicare;
  • Responding to climate change;
  • Protecting a woman’s right to choose;
  • Supporting marriage equality;
  • Reforming America’s immigration system; and
  • Many other pressing domestic issues.

More after the jump.
The Workmen’s Circle summarized their findings:

  • American Jews consistently favor increasing spending on social welfare and regulating big business, in the midst of an election focused on budget deficits and taxation.
  • By a two-to-one ratio, Jewish voters see government regulation of business as necessary to protect the public interest, rather than ‘usually doing more harm than good’ (55% vs. 28%).
  • Asked to choose between the contrasting positions of fewer government services with reduced spending vs. many more services with increased spending, Jews in the survey opted for the latter (43% vs. 37%).
  • By more than a two-to-one ratio, Jewish voters prefer decreasing defense spending to increasing defense spending (53% vs. 26%).
  • By a 43% to 31% margin, more American Jews agreed with the view that, ‘Poor people have hard lives because government benefits don’t go far enough to help them live decently,’ than with the position that ‘Poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return.’
  • By almost a two-to-one ratio, respondents expressed the belief that Medicare can be preserved without cutting benefits (50% vs. 28%).
  • Commitment to economic justice issues is so widespread in the American Jewish population that it extends even to the highest income Jews. Those earning over $250,000 express liberal views on economic justice as frequently as those earning far less. Jews earning $250,000 or more were as likely as lower-earning Jews to vote for Obama and other Democrats….
  • Accompanying the liberal and progressive stances on economic justice issues were a variety of positions of similar political coloration on issues like climate change, abortion, immigration and same-sex marriage.

The poll’s summary is available here, and the full poll results are available here as a pdf.  

Obama’s Favorability Continues to Rise Among Israeli Jews

— by David Streeter

The Brookings Institution and the University of Maryland conducted a poll of Israeli Jews and found that President Barack Obama’s favorability now sits at 62%. Last year’s survey found that Obama’s favorability was at 54%. Further, this year’s survey found that Obama passed German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the most admired foreign leader,

Last year we explained that the more Israelis get to know Obama and see the President in action-as they did this month-the more favorable their views become. This year’s survey further proves that analysis.

More after the jump.

AJC Poll Shows Obama Clearly Ahead Among Florida Jews

(NJDC) The American Jewish Committee released a new poll of Jewish voters in Florida that found President Barack Obama leading Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney 69%-25%, with 5% undecided. Among undecided voters, 0% indicated that they lean toward Romney.

Recently reported data from Gallup found Obama leading 70%-25% nationally.  

AJC Survey Confirms Obama’s Strength Among Jewish Voters

— by David Streeter

An American Jewish Committee survey released today has demonstrated yet again that Jews would overwhelmingly vote today to reelect President Barack Obama over the GOP nominee, Mitt Romney (by a 61%:28% margin)-by essentially the same margin AJC reported Jews would support Barack Obama over John McCain at this same point in 2008 (57%:30%). This once again gives the lie to the myth that the Jewish vote is shifting rightward.

Further, the AJC survey shows that the margin of how much American Jews favor Barack Obama over Mitt Romney has dramatically increased from 2011 (50%:32%, an 18-point gap) to 2012 (61%:28%, a 33-point gap), using this very same poll. This illustrates that the more American Jews get to know Mitt Romney, the less they like him — and the more they see of Barack Obama’s leadership, the more they support him.

The AJC survey-like each survey before it-also asked about party identification. American Jews’ party identification in each American Jewish Committee survey going back through 2008 demonstrates that Jews remain strongly Democratic (52/19 today), with any fluctuations being within the margin of error. This yet again gives the lie to the myth of any shift in Jewish voter identification.

This month-old AJC poll tracks closely with other similar recent polls of Jewish opinion-including the PRRI Jewish Values Survey and others. All of these have shown a significant lead for President Obama over his likely Republican opponent, on par with where he was four years ago at this time — when he eventually won by a three-to-one margin among the Jewish vote.


American Jews and the Buffett Rule

Strong Support for Shared Sacrifice

— by David Streeter

In recent days, President Barack Obama has spoken about the importance of implementing the Buffett rule-which would ensure shared sacrifice for all Americans by adjusting tax rates so that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. When speaking about the Buffett rule yesterday, Obama said:

America has always been a place where anybody who’s willing to work and play by the rules can make it. A place where prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top, it grows from the bottom; it grows outward from the heart of a vibrant middle class….

In the next few weeks, we’re going to vote on something called the Buffett Rule-very simple: If you make more than $1 million a year … what the rule says is you should pay the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do. You shouldn’t get special tax breaks. You shouldn’t be able to get special loopholes.

And if we do that, then it makes it affordable for us to be able to say for those people who make under $250,000 a year-like 98 percent of American families do-then your taxes don’t go up. And we can still make those investments in things like student loans and college and science and infrastructure and all the things that make this country great.


Last week, the Public Religion Research Institute conducted a poll of Jewish voters in which they found overwhelming support from American Jews for the principles embodied in the Buffett rule:

  • 73% of respondents agreed that “The economic system in this country unfairly favors the wealthy.”
  • 81% of respondents favor “Increasing the tax rate on Americans earning more than $1 million a year.”

This tremendous support by American Jews for the core values surrounding the Buffett rule is not surprising, given the deep support among Jews for ideals such as tikkun olam (repairing the world) and helping the needy.

On this issue of basic fairness, as with so many others, it is clear that the Democratic Party is the true political home for most American Jews.

Transcript and video of Obama’s remarks follows the jump.
April 11, 2012
Eisenhower Executive Office Building

THE PRESIDENT: It is wonderful to see you.  Lately, we’ve been talking about the fundamental choice that we face as a country.  We can settle for an economy where a shrinking number of people do very, very well and everybody else is struggling to get by, or we can build an economy where we’re rewarding hard work and responsibility — an economy where everybody has a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same set of rules.

The people who have joined me here today are extremely successful.  They’ve created jobs and opportunity for thousands of Americans.  They’re rightly proud of their success.  They love the country that made their success possible, and most importantly, they want to make sure that the next generation, people coming up behind them, have the same opportunities that they had.

They understand, though, that for some time now, when compared to the middle class, they haven’t been asked to do their fair share.  And they are here because they believe there is something deeply wrong and irresponsible about that.

At a time when the share of national income flowing to the top 1 percent of people in this country has climbed to levels we haven’t seen since the 1920s, these same folks are paying taxes at one of the lowest rates in 50 years.  In fact, one in four millionaires pays a lower tax rate than millions of hardworking middle-class households.  And while many millionaires do pay their fair share, some take advantage of loopholes and shelters that let them get away with paying no income taxes whatsoever — and that’s all perfectly legal under the system that we currently have.

You’ve heard that my friend Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary — because he’s the one who’s been pointing that out and saying we should fix it.  The executives who are with me here today, not just behind me but in the audience, agree with me.  They agree with Warren — they should be fixed.  They, in fact, have brought some of their own assistants to prove that same point — that it is just plain wrong that middle-class Americans pay a higher share of their income in taxes than some millionaires and billionaires.

Now, it’s not that these folks are excited about the idea of paying more taxes.  This thing I’ve always made clear.  (Laughter.)  I have yet to meet people who just love taxes.  Nobody loves paying taxes.  In a perfect world, none of us would have to pay any taxes.  We’d have no deficits to pay down.  And schools and bridges and roads and national defense and caring for our veterans would all happen magically.

We’d all have the money we need to make investments in the things that help us grow — investments, by the way, that have always been essential to the private sector’s success, as well, not just — they’re not just important in terms of the people that directly benefit from these programs, but historically, those investments that we’ve made in infrastructure, in education, in science, in technology, in transportation, that’s part of what has made us an economic superpower.

And it would be nice if we didn’t have to pay for them, but this is the real world that we live in.  We have real choices and real consequences.  Right now, we’ve got significant deficits that are going to have to be closed.  Right now, we have significant needs if we want to continue to grow this economy and compete in this 21st-century, hyper-competitive, technologically-integrated economy.  That means we can’t afford to keep spending more money on tax cuts for wealthy Americans who don’t need them and weren’t even asking for them.  And it’s time we did something about it.

Now, I want to emphasize, this is not simply an issue of redistributing wealth.  That’s what you’ll hear from those who object to a tax plan that is fair.  This is not just about fairness.  This is also about growth.  This is also about being able to make the investments we need to succeed.  And it’s about we as a country being willing to pay for those investments and closing our deficits.  That’s what this is about.

Now, next week, members of Congress are going to have a chance to vote on what we call the Buffett Rule.  And it’s simple:  If you make more money — more than $1 million a year, not if you have $1 million, but if you make more than $1 million a year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do.  If on the other hand, you make less than $250,000 a year — like 98 percent of American families do — your taxes shouldn’t go up.
That’s all there is to it.  That’s pretty sensible.  Most Americans agree with me, so do most millionaires.  One survey found that two-thirds of millionaires support this idea.  So do nearly half of all Republicans across America.

So we just need some of the Republican politicians here in Washington to get on board with where the country is.  I know that some prefer to run around using the same reflexive, false claims about wanting to raise people’s taxes.  What they won’t tell you is the truth — that I’ve cut taxes for middle-class families each year that I’ve been in office.  I’ve cut taxes for small business owners not once or twice, but 17 times.

As I said, for most of the folks in this room, taxes are lower than they’ve been, or as low as they’ve been, in 50 years.  There are others who are saying, well, this is just a gimmick.  Just taxing millionaires and billionaires, just imposing the Buffett Rule won’t do enough to close the deficit.  Well, I agree.  That’s not all we have to do to close the deficit.  But the notion that it doesn’t solve the entire problem doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it at all.

There are enough excuses for inaction in Washington.  We certainly don’t need more excuses.  I’d just point out that the Buffett Rule is something that will get us moving in the right direction towards fairness, towards economic growth.  It will help us close our deficit and it’s a lot more specific than anything that the other side has proposed so far.  And if Republicans in Congress were truly concerned with deficits and debt, then I’m assuming they wouldn’t have just proposed to spend an additional $4.6 trillion on lower tax rates, including an average tax cut of at least $150,000 for every millionaire in America.

They want to go in the opposite direction.  They want to double down on some of the inequities that already exist in the tax code.  If we’re going to keep giving somebody like me or some of the people in this room tax breaks that we don’t need and we can’t afford, then one of two things happens:  Either you’ve got to borrow more money to pay down a deeper deficit, or you’ve got to demand deeper sacrifices from the middle class, and you’ve got to cut investments that help us grow as an economy.

You’ve got to tell seniors to pay a little bit more for their Medicare.  You’ve got to tell the college student, we’re going to have to charge you higher interest rates on your student loan or you’re just going to get smaller student loans.  You’re going to have to tell that working family that’s scraping by that they’re going to have to do more because the wealthiest of Americans are doing less.

That’s not right.  The middle class has seen enough of its security erode over the past few decades that we shouldn’t let that happen.  And we’re not going to stop investing in the things that create real and lasting growth in this country just so folks like me can get an additional tax cut.  We’re not going to stop building first-class schools and making sure that they’ve got science labs in them.  We’re not going to fail to make investments in basic science and research that could cure diseases that harm people, or create the new technology that ends up creating entire jobs and industries that we haven’t seen before.  In America, prosperity has never just trickled down from a wealthy few.  Prosperity has always been built from the bottom up and from the heart of the middle class outward.  And so it’s time for Congress to stand up for the middle class and make our tax system fairer by passing this Buffett Rule.

Let me just close by saying this.  I’m not the first President to call for this idea that everybody has got to do their fair share.  Some years ago, one of my predecessors traveled across the country pushing for the same concept.  He gave a speech where he talked about a letter he had received from a wealthy executive who paid lower tax rates than his secretary, and wanted to come to Washington and tell Congress why that was wrong.  So this President gave another speech where he said it was “crazy” — that’s a quote — that certain tax loopholes make it possible for multimillionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary.  That wild-eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior was Ronald Reagan.

He thought that, in America, the wealthiest should pay their fair share, and he said so.  I know that position might disqualify him from the Republican primaries these days — (laughter) — but what Ronald Reagan was calling for then is the same thing that we’re calling for now:  a return to basic fairness and responsibility; everybody doing their part.  And if it will help convince folks in Congress to make the right choice, we could call it the Reagan Rule instead of the Buffett Rule.

But the choice is clear.  This vote is coming up.  I’m asking every American who agrees with me to call your member of Congress, or write them an email, tweet them.  Tell them to stop giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans who don’t need them and aren’t asking for them.  Tell them to start asking everybody to do their fair share and play by the same rules, so that every American who’s willing to work hard has a chance at similar success, so that we’re making the investments that help this economy grow, so that we’re able to bring down our deficits in a fair and balanced and sensible way.  Tell them to pass the Buffett Rule.

I’m going to keep on making this case across the country because I believe that this rule is consistent with those principles and those values that have helped make us this remarkable place where everybody has opportunity.

Now, each of us is only here because somebody, somewhere, felt responsibility not only for themselves, but also for their community and for their country.  They felt a responsibility to us, to future generations.  And now it’s our turn to be similarly responsible.  Now it’s our turn to preserve that American Dream for future generations.

So I want to thank those of you who are here with me today.  I want to thank everybody who is in the audience.  And I want to appeal to the American people:  Let’s make sure that we keep the pressure on Congress to do the right thing.

BFF: Obama supports Israel & Israels support Obama

— by David Streeter and Jason Attermann

A new independent poll released today by the Brookings Institution of Israelis in November demonstrates again that a majority of Israeli Jews hold favorable views of President Barack Obama. Of the Israeli Jews polled, 54% held a favorable view of Obama, while 39% did not. This survey marked a 13 point increase over the percentage of Israelis who held favorable views of Obama one year ago in a similar poll.

National Jewish Democratic Council President and CEO David A. Harris commented,

This new poll shows the continuing increase in support among Israelis for President Obama over time. As they get to know him better and better, Israelis hold more and more favorable views of the President — and this poll demonstrates it.

Earlier in his term when Israelis were getting to know President Obama, and his favorability numbers were significantly lower as a result, GOP partisans used those numbers to falsely smear and distort this President’s stellar record on Israel. Today, it’s clear that Israelis hold favorable views of the President. But I don’t expect to hear a peep from the GOP about these new favorability figures now that Israelis have gotten to know the President better over time.

The poll, led by Dr. Shibley Telhami, a professor at the University of Maryland and a non-resident senior fellow at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution, surveyed 510 Israeli Jews between November 10-16 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.4%.

President Obama: “No Ally Is More Important than the State of Israel”

The feeling is mutual.

Wednesday night, President Barack Obama spoke at the home of American Jewish Congress Chairman Jack Rosen and firmly reiterated his commitment to Israel’s security. When Rosen introduced Obama, he declared that “America has never been as supportive of the state of Israel as President Obama and his administration.” During his remarks, Obama affirmed that “no ally is more important than the state of Israel,” and also said:

I try not to pat myself too much on the back, but this administration has done more in terms of the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration.  And that’s not just our opinion, that’s the opinion of the Israeli government.  Whether it’s making sure that our intelligence cooperation is effective, to making sure that we’re able to construct something like an Iron Dome so that we don’t have missiles raining down on Tel Aviv, we have been consistent in insisting that we don’t compromise when it comes to Israel’s security.  And that’s not just something I say privately, that’s something that I said in the U.N. General Assembly.  And that will continue.

We do have enormous challenges in making sure that the changes that are taking place in Egypt, the changes that are taking place throughout the region do not end up manifesting themselves in anti-Western or anti-Israel policies.  And that’s something that we’re going to have to pay close attention to, and work diligently on in the months to come.

More poll results and the President’s full remarks follow the jump.

Remarks by President Barack Obama

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, let me begin by just thanking Jac and Phyllis — and their adorable grandchildren.  (Laughter.)  And their children — I don’t want to skip over a generation.  (Laughter.)  But the grandchildren are really my buddies.  This guy says he’s going to be a future president.  (Laughter.)  So I’m just kind of warming up the seat for him.  (Laughter.)

But in addition to the Rosens, I want to make sure that everybody had a chance to say hello to somebody who has been a dear friend and is an outstanding DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  (Applause.)

I’m going to keep my remarks very brief at the top, because what I want to do is spend as much time in dialogue and answering questions as possible.

When I came into office, we knew that this was going to be an extraordinary time in the life of the country, and in the world.  I don’t think any of us realized what an extraordinary transformation would be taking place over these last several years.  They’ve been tough years.  They’ve been tough years for the American people.  They’ve been tough for the world.  And we’re not out of the woods yet.  But I begin any meeting like this by saying that we should remind ourselves how much we’ve accomplished over the last three years.  

When we came into office, the economy was contracting at 9 percent.  It has grown over the last 3 years — not as fast as we’d like, but we have been able to sustain a fairly steady pace of growth.  When I came into office, we had lost 4 million jobs before I was sworn in, and 4 million jobs in the three months after I was sworn in.  About six months later, we were creating jobs, and we’ve had private sector job growth for 20 consecutive months.

Along the way, in addition to preventing a financial meltdown and preventing a second Great Depression, we were able to pass a historic health care bill that’s going to make sure that 30 million people have coverage.  We were able to pass a Wall Street reform package that, although some folks in New York are still grousing about it — (laughter) — is going to ensure that we do not have the same kinds of crisis that we had in the past.  We were able to make sure that we ended the war in Iraq, as promised, and by the end of this year we’re going to have all of our troops out, which is going to be an extraordinary homecoming for families all across America.  Thanks to the great work of folks like Debbie, we were able to end practices like “don’t ask, don’t tell,” make sure that we expanded college loans for millions of students all across the country.

So a huge amount of progress has been made, but what we also know is we’ve still got a lot more work to do.  On the domestic front — Jack and I were just downstairs talking — the housing market and the real estate market is still way too weak and we’ve got to do more.  We’re doing some stuff administratively.  We’re hoping that we can get a little more cooperation from Congress to be more aggressive in tackling the housing market and the real estate market.

We still have to put people back to work.  And I was just in Pennsylvania talking about why it’s so important to make sure that we pass a — continue, essentially, a payroll tax cut that helps small businesses and individual families so that there’s more money in circulation and businesses can really latch on to this recovery and start expanding their payrolls.

Internationally, we’ve been managing I think an extraordinary period not just of two wars, which we’re now winding down, but, as Jack alluded to, enormous tumult in the Middle East.  And so far, at least, what we’ve been able to do is manage it in a way that positions America to stand on the side of democracy, but also be very firm with respect to the security of our allies.  And obviously, no ally is more important than the state of Israel.

And as Jack alluded to, this administration — I try not to pat myself too much on the back, but this administration has done more in terms of the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration.  And that’s not just our opinion, that’s the opinion of the Israeli government.  Whether it’s making sure that our intelligence cooperation is effective, to making sure that we’re able to construct something like an Iron Dome so that we don’t have missiles raining down on Tel Aviv, we have been consistent in insisting that we don’t compromise when it comes to Israel’s security.  And that’s not just something I say privately, that’s something that I said in the U.N. General Assembly.  And that will continue.

We do have enormous challenges in making sure that the changes that are taking place in Egypt, the changes that are taking place throughout the region do not end up manifesting themselves in anti-Western or anti-Israel policies.  And that’s something that we’re going to have to pay close attention to, and work diligently on in the months to come.

In the meantime, there are other regions in the world in which we’re making enormous progress.  I mean, we’ve been able to not only reset relations with Russia, manage relations with China, but we’ve also been able to mobilize world opinion around U.S. leadership in a way that many people had thought had been lost when I came into office back in 2008.

So the bottom line is this:  Over the last three years we have made enormous progress.  People aren’t feeling all that progress yet because we had fallen so far and some of the problems that we faced — whether it was on health care or energy or employment — those are problems that had been building up over decades.  And we never anticipated that we would solve them over night because these problems weren’t created overnight.  But the trajectory of the country at this point is sound.

The question is, in 2012 does it continue?  And, frankly, we’ve got another party that — how will I say this charitably — (laughter) — in the past I think has been willing at times  to put country ahead of party, but I’d say over the last couple of years, has not.  Everything has become politicized, from the most modest appointment to getting judges on the bench, to trying to make sure the economy grows — everything has been looked at through a political lens.  And that is what people are tired of. And, frankly, that’s the reason that Congress right now is polling at 9 percent.

People want Washington to work on behalf of the American people, not on behalf of folks in Washington and special interests.  And that has been a great challenge.  This election in 2012 is going to pose a decision for the American people in terms of what direction we want to go in.  There’s fundamental differences in terms of direction.

Their view is that less regulation, a shriveled government that is not doing much for people in terms of giving them a ladder up into the middle class, that that’s their best vision; that we don’t invest in science, that we don’t invest in education, that we don’t invest in infrastructure and transportation — all the things that made us a great power, they seem willing to abandon for ideological reasons.

And I was so moved listening to Jack’s story, because Jack is exactly right — his story is our story.  It’s my story; it’s your story.  At some point our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents came to this country seeking opportunity.  And they had to work hard; they had to hold themselves personally responsible, they had to take risks.  But they also knew that there was a country here where if you did try hard, then somebody might give you a little bit of help; that we were in it together, there were ladders of opportunity that existed.

And that’s what we have to rebuild for the 21st century.  And that requires us to make some decisions about, are we going to have the best schools in this country, are we going to have the best infrastructure, are we going to do what it takes, so these guys end up being part of an America where everybody can still make it if they try; regardless of whether they came from Russia, or they came from Poland, or they came from Mexico, or they came from Kenya, that they’re going to have a chance to succeed, and live out the same kind of dreams that the Rosen family has been able to live out.

Our kids are going to be fine.  And I always tell Malia and Sasha, look, you guys, I don’t worry about you — I mean, I worry the way parents worry — but they’re on a path that is going to be successful, even if the country as a whole is not successful. But that’s not our vision of America.  I don’t want an America where my kids are living behind walls and gates, and can’t feel a part of a country that is giving everybody a shot.

And that’s what we’re fighting for.  That’s what 2012 is going to be all about.  And I’m going to need your help to do it. (Applause.)

So, thank you, very much.  (Applause.)

U.S. Voters Opposed to Unilaterally Declared Palestinian State, New Poll Shows

— Alan Elsner & Nathan Klein, The Israel Project

  • Majority opposes U.S. recoginition of unilaterally declared Palestinian state.
  • Israel seen to be making efforts for peace, not Palestinians.
  • Voters who say U.S. should support Israel rises.

Some 51 percent of U.S. voters oppose the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state without a signed peace treaty with Israel, a new TIP poll finds. And, 54 percent believe that without a peace treaty, the United States should not recognize a Palestinian state.

The poll was mostly completed before Palestinian terrorists attacked a school bus in Israel on Thursday wounding two people.

More after the jump.
U.S. leaders on both sides of the aisle have also expressed their opposition to a unilateral declaration of statehood by the Palestinian Authority. President Obama’s representative in the U.N., Ambassador Susan Rice, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week: “The tough issues between Israelis and Palestinians can be resolved only by direct negotiations between the parties, not in New York,” referring to U.N. headquarters there.

Republican Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18, R) said in opening remarks, “I ask that the U.S. do all we can to ensure that the Palestinian lobby does not gain member status in the U.N. before negotiating a true peace with our ally Israel.”

Speaking about the theoretical declaration of a Palestinian state, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Founder & President of The Israel Project said: “Many Americans feel that the problem is not territory, but rather the culture of hate that encourages young Palestinians to commit acts of terrorism against Israeli civilians. They do not see how an empty declaration of Palestinian statehood can bring peace until the hatred ends.

Added Mizrahi: “Israeli and Palestinian relations are very complicated with shared power, water, security and refugee issues affecting both sides. These issues must be worked out before there is peace. It is vital to settle all the outstanding issues to the satisfaction of both sides with mutual respect and security.”

Supporting these opinions, 61 percent of voters say that Israel is making an effort for peace, while 53 percent believe the Palestinians are making “not much” or “no” effort.

Neil Newhouse, Republican partner of TIP’s bipartisan polling team, said: “There is a clear perception that the Palestinians are not stepping up to the plate on working toward a real peace agreement.”

Additionally, as political turmoil roils the Arab world, 58 percent of American voters say the United States should support Israel – a jump of seven percentage points since January. This represents a three-point rise since February to the highest level of support for this position since October, 2009. The survey also found an increase in positive feelings toward Israel – and negative feelings toward the Palestinians.

“Instability in the region and recent events in Israel are causing an increase of support for Israel among the American electorate,” said Stanley Greenberg, Democratic partner of TIP’s bipartisan polling team.

The national survey of 800 registered voters was conducted April 5-7, 2011 by Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of The Israel Project. The margin of error is +/- 3.46%.

New Poll Finds Strong Support of Israel Among Americans

Almost 60 percent say U.S. should support Israel.
By six to one margin, Americans believe Israel is more committed to peace than Palestinians.
Majority believe imports into Gaza must be controlled.

WASHINGTON, Sept 13 – A new poll (PDF, PowerPoint) has found that support of Israel among Americans has jumped following the resumption of Middle East peace talks with a strong majority believing that the Israeli government is committed to making peace with the Palestinians and deserves unwavering backing from the United States.

The bipartisan poll of 800 likely voters conducted Sept 9-12 by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research found that 58 percent thought the United States should support Israel, while 7 percent thought it should support the Palestinians. Six percent said neither and 16 percent did not know or declined to answer. In July 2010, only 51 percent said the United States should support Israel so this poll saw a 7 percent jump. The poll carried a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

A strong majority (58 percent) also thought Israeli Prime Minister was committed to making peace with the Palestinians. Only 40 percent thought the same of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“Support for Israel among Americans remains strong and steady,” said pollster Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies.

Overall, Americans by a six to one margin believe Israel is more committed to reaching a peace agreement than the Palestinians. By almost two to one (63 percent to 34 percent) they thing the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is mostly about religion and ideology rather than a conflict mostly about land.

Sixty one percent also said Israel should continue to inspect and control commerce going in and out of the Gaza Strip to prevent supplies that might be used for military purposes. Only 30 percent thought Gaza, controlled by Iran-backed Hamas, should be fully open to commerce.