A September 15-18 survey administered by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and The Washington Post reveals stark partisan differences on the issue of Palestinian statehood and Middle East relations. A plurality of Americans (42%) believe the United States should recognize Palestine as an independent nation, as compared with 26% who oppose U.S. recognition and nearly a third (32%) of respondents who state no opinion.
The numbers, however, change within partisan groups. A much higher percentage of Democrats (54%) say they are in favor of U.S. recognition, while only 14% oppose the action; and the numbers are similarly skewed among independents, 45% of whom are in favor of recognition and only 28% opposed. But there are more Republicans (38%) who believe the U.S. should not recognize Palestine than there are those who believe it should (27%).
Views similarly fall along partisan lines when respondents are asked with which population they sympathize more. On the whole, 40% of Americans say they sympathize more with Israel, as compared with 10% who sympathize more with Palestinians; 21% say they do not sympathize with either side; and 25% express no opinion. The percentages are nearly unchanged since 1978.Far more Republicans (62%) sympathize with Israel than with Palestinians (4%), especially when compared to other partisan groups. 27% of Democrats sympathize with Israel and 15% with Palestinians; and among independents, 41% sympathize more with Israel than Palestinians (10%).
The report also addresses the "low visibility of the Israel-Palestinian dispute." According to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ), coverage of the issue has been limited. Pew writes: "Last week, less than 2% of all news coverage was devoted to the debate over Palestinian statehood, far less than the amount of coverage devoted to the U.S. economy (20%) or the 2012 presidential campaign (12%)."
The survey was conducted in anticipation of the planned UN debate on Palestinian statehood this week.