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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 19, 2003

Gallup Poll Findings: Encouraging, but...

Findings from a recent Gallup Poll on Americans’ views concerning Israel (posted today, 19 Feb 2003) are summarize by this heading:

Americans' Views of Israel More Positive Than Last Year Sympathy with Israel highest since Persian Gulf War
Specifically, the February, 2003, poll indicates the following findings, based on the question, “is your overall opinion of Israe: very favorable, mostly favorable, mostly unfavorable, or very unfavorable?”

Very favourable plus mostly favourable - 64%;
Mostly unfavourable plus very unfavourable - 29%;
No opinion - 7%.

Considering that the US is Israel’s only nation-ally (in addition to the readers of IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks...), and considering that Israel is now asking for an additional aid package, this is a welcome piece of news.

Before anyone becomes overjoyed, I’d like to interject a few words of caution.

First, the aforementioned Gallup site also provides a time series going back to 1989. Even if one takes sampling error into consideration, one sees that the “positive ratings” fluctuate over time, the conclusion being that unless one constantly nourishes those who currently give “positive ratings”, the figures may change for the worse in the future.

Secondly, there is a 7% segment of the population that was classified as “no opinion” - it is incumbent upon the pro-Israel forces to reach this 7% with information, before Israel’s enemies reach them with distortions.

Third, the group classified as “very favourable” is small: only 22% (“mostly favourable account for 42%). Again, information is necessary to shift the “mostly” to “very”.

On the one hand, it is quite an achievement for the people of the US, that in spite of the constant distortions propagated by Reuters, NYT et al, most of the people in the US can still see the light through the fog. But on the other hand, we must recall that in assessing Israel, the people of the US are assessing a democratic republic like their own, as compared to Arafat’s corrupt, murderous tyranny, so asking for better ratings than observed is not asking for the moon.

These conclusions are even more relevant when one considers another question of the poll: “In the Middle East situation, are your sympathies more with the Israelis or more with the Palestinian Arabs?“ The results:

Israelis - 58%
Palestinian Arabs, 13%
Both - 6%;
Neither - 11%
No opinion - 12%

Note that 29% of US respondents are sitting on the fence - “both”, “neither” and “no opinion”. These are the people we have to reach!

Are the findings encouraging? Yes, indeed. But they have to be improved.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.