Widespread Support for Palestinian State

by David W. Moore

But public skeptical about peace prospects

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- On Wednesday, President Bush will meet with Palestinian and Israeli leaders to push for a peace agreement between the two countries. Among other things, Bush's plan calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, a proposal that receives widespread support from the American public, according to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. Nevertheless, the public is skeptical about whether this week's meeting will lead to significant progress toward a lasting peace. On a related matter, Americans are more likely to think the United States gives Israel too much support than too little, though the margin has declined from last year.

The poll, conducted May 30-June 1, finds 58% in favor and just 22% of Americans opposed to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Last year a similar poll also found a majority in favor, but the margin was not as large as it is today -- 48% in favor to 27% opposed.

Do you favor or oppose the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and the Gaza strip?

The high level of support expressed by the public in the latest poll could reflect the fact that President Bush is making the issue a high priority for his presidency, as shown by his personal meeting in the Middle East with the two parties. Most of the fluctuation in public opinion on this issue is not in the level of opposition, which seems relatively constant at about a quarter of the public. Rather, the change in opinion shows variation in those who are in favor compared with those who express no opinion.

Public Skeptical About Peace Prospects

There is no guarantee that Bush's meeting with the Palestinian and Israeli leaders will lead to peace, as several presidents have engaged in similar diplomacy without achieving long-term peace. And Americans are skeptical that this meeting, or this meeting in combination with other efforts Bush makes, will be any more successful.

A random half of survey respondents were asked if just the meeting itself would lead to a lasting peace, and the other half of respondents were asked if the meeting -- in combination with other diplomatic efforts during Bush's first term -- would lead to peace. The wording of the question made little difference in the responses. By large margins, Americans predicted the efforts would not be successful.

May 30-June 1, 2003

The poll also finds that most Americans feel the president should be involved in trying to find a peaceful solution, despite their lack of confidence that it will be successful. Perhaps because of this pessimism about its probability of success, only 17% of Americans say that a peace agreement should be the number one priority for Bush, while another 62% say it should be a priority, but not the top one. Only 19% of Americans believe the president should not be deeply involved.

Peace Agreement Between Palestinians and Israelis --
What Priority for Bush?
May 30-June 1, 2003

Biased Policy

The American public is somewhat inclined to think the United States supports Israel too much, with 32% taking that point of view, compared with 12% who say the United States does not give Israel enough support. Another 48% say U.S. support for the Israelis is about right.

That 32% to 12% margin, however, is smaller than the margin measured last year, during a period of intense conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In a June 7-8, 2002 poll, 43% of Americans said the United States was giving too much support to the Israelis, while 10% said too little. The current results are more in line with those measured in March and April of last year. In October 2001, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, almost six in 10 said the United States was supporting Israel "about right," the highest support for U.S.-Israeli policy measured in the past two years.

Do you think the United States supports Israel: too much, about the right amount, or too little?

Partisan Responses

There is little difference in support of a Palestinian state by political group, with 60% of Republicans and 55% of Democrats in favor. However, Democrats and independents are predictably somewhat more likely to see a bias in U.S. policy toward Israel than are Republicans. Past Gallup polls have shown very strong support for Israel among Republicans and conservatives in the United States. Also predictably, Republicans are also somewhat more optimistic than independents and Democrats about Bush's chances of achieving a lasting peace.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,019 national adults, aged 18+, conducted May 30-June 1, 2003. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

For results based on the 514 national adults in the Form A half-sample and 505 national adults in the Form B half-sample, the maximum margins of sampling error are ±5 percentage points.

Do you favor or oppose the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and the Gaza strip?

 

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

%

%

%

2003 May 30-Jun 1

58

22

20

2002 May 20-22 ^

48

27

25

2000 Jul 6-9 ^

40

24

36

1999 May 7-9 ^

53

26

21

1998 †

36

26

38

1994 †

39

20

41

^ Asked of a half sample

† Gallup/Chicago Council on Foreign Relations



Do you think the United States supports Israel -- [ROTATED: too much, about the right amount, or too little]?

 

 


Too much

About the
right amount


Too little

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

2003 May 30-Jun 1

32

48

12

8

2002 Jun 7-8

43

40

10

7

2002 Apr 5-7

35

49

10

6

2002 Mar 1-3

38

48

11

3

2001 Dec 14-16 ^

31

51

10

8

2001 Oct 19-21

29

58

9

4

^

Asked of a half sample



Which comes closest to your view about what George W. Bush should do about achieving a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians – [ROTATED: Bush should make it his top foreign policy priority, he should make it one of his foreign policy priorities, but not his top priority, or do you think Bush should not be deeply involved in achieving a peace agreement]?

 

 


Top
priority

One priority, but not top priority


Should not be deeply involved


No
opinion

2003 May 30-Jun 1

17%

62

19

2



Q.27-28 SPLIT SAMPLED

As you may know, President Bush is meeting next week with leaders of Israel and the Palestinians. Do you think those meetings and other diplomatic efforts during Bush's first term in office will -- or will not -- produce real significant progress toward a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians?

BASED ON 514 NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM A

 

Yes, will

No, will not

No opinion

2003 May 30-Jun 1

35%

59

6



As you may know, President Bush is meeting next week with leaders of Israel and the Palestinians. Do you think those meetings will – or will not – produce real significant progress toward a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians?

BASED ON 505 NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM B

 

Yes, will

No, will not

No opinion

2003 May 30-Jun 1

32%

63

5



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