Thursday, December 9, 2010

Poll: 71% of Americans favor U.S. role in Mideast; striking partisan differences in attitude towards Israel

(Politico).A poll to be released Thursday at the Brookings Institution shows that two-thirds of Americans polled believe that the Arab-Israeli issue is among the top five American interests in the world, while one quarter believe it is one of top three American interests.

The findings "are really striking," the poll's coordinator, Shibley Telhami told POLITICO on Wednesday. "The American public thinks this is a big-time issue."

With 71 percent of those polled supporting American diplomatic efforts to mediate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, President Barack Obama can't just walk away from the issue, Telhami said.

The poll also showed striking partisan differences in attitudes toward the conflict, with 46 percent of Republicans wanting American diplomacy to lean toward Israel, compared to 11 percent of independents and 14 percent of Democrats.