A majority of Americans say Israel’s military actions in Gaza are justified, with only four in 10 saying that Israel has used too much force, according to a new national poll.
But a CNN/ORC International survey conducted Friday through Sunday also indicates that favorable opinions of Israel have edged down slightly since earlier this year.
The poll was released Monday as the death toll on both sides continued to go up.
According to the poll, 57% of the public said the Israeli actions against Hamas, the Palestinian organization that runs Gaza, are justified, with just over a third saying they are unjustified.
Forty-three percent of those questioned said Israel’s using about the right amount of force, with 12% saying they’re not using enough. Nearly four in 10 said Israel is using too much force in Gaza.
“Attitudes toward Israeli military action have been extremely stable over the years,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “In 2012, an identical 57% thought that Israel’s actions against Hamas in Gaza were justified. And in 2009, the number of Americans who felt that way was only a few points higher, at 63%.”
“Support for U.S. military aid to Israel also remains fairly stable, with almost two-thirds of Americans saying that U.S. assistance to Israel should be increased or kept the same,” Holland added.
The survey indicates that 38% have an unfavorable opinion of Israel, up 14 percentage points from February. Sixty percent said they have a favorable opinion of Israel, down from 72% in February. But that 60% favorable rating is three times higher than the 20% of Americans who have a positive view of the Palestinian Authority, the governing body that runs the West Bank.
If the bloodshed continues for a while, don’t be surprised if some partisan bickering over the fighting in Gaza breaks out in the United States as the poll suggests a partisan divide.
Forty-five percent of Democrats questioned said that Israeli’s military actions in Gaza are justified. That number jumps to 56% among independents and 73% among Republicans.
The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from July 18-20, with 1,012 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.