Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Do Americans really love Canadian Zionists?

RubinReports: Americans Love Israel Even More Than You Think - Barry Rubin reports some good news: a Gallup Poll showing that Israel is viewed favourably by two-thirds of Americans, while only six percent really hate Israel. However, it still matters to friends of Israel which party is in power in Washington:
The other astounding result is the size of the Republican-Democrat gap on Israel. While 80 percent of Republicans are favorable, only 53 percent of Democrats are. Democrats are twice as likely to like the PA. In comparison, 64 percent of Democrats like Egypt, a repressive dictatorship despite its moderate foreign policy, and 56 percent like Russia.

This might be somewhat misleading since we aren’t told whether the other 47 percent of Democrats who weren’t favorable to Israel had no opinion or were only mildly critical. Only 25 percent of Democrats were favorable to the PA so even there (again, remembering it quite possible to be favorable toward both) a wide gap exists in Israel’s favor.

Another indicator is that Israel is the only country that Republicans—who presumably include more elements whose patriotism, xenophobia, nationalism, or isolationism make them generally less enthusiastic about other countries generally--like more than Democrats, suggesting that it is high support by the former rather than low backing by the latter which could account for the gap.
In any case, maybe this helps explain why Canada is the country Americans like most.

Rubin concludes:
Another issue is narrative, with much of the elite believing that the conflict is one of Palestinians and Syria desperately wanting peace but Israel saying no. In the American elite, there is also more of a yearning to be like Europe.

But American public opinion has more common sense to see through these myths. It understands that there are huge differences between democracies and dictatorship. It knows demagoguery and extremist ideology on sight and doesn’t like them. Thus, matters are precisely the opposite of what much of the elite thinks: public opinion, not elite institutions, accurately predicts where policy on these issues will go in future.

1 comment:

Charles Henry said...

The results on North Korea caught my eye: if I'm reading the numbers correctly, 30% of the youngest demographic, 18-34, viewed North Korea favorably. (!)

Of the other age groups identified, the 35-54 year olds were only 11% favorable, and the 55-and over category were only 6% favorable to the despotic dictatorship.

South Korea, however, wasn't included on the list.

I wonder: did the younger age group not realize that there are two Koreas right now, not just one? Or is that number a reflection of how interested they are in North Korea's approach to representative government and free market enterprise?

I'd like to think it's an admirable case of the young exhibiting the credo, "love the sinner, hate the sin"...