Polling the Importance of Israel’s Rights to a United Jerusalem and Defensible Borders for Likely American Voters: A Nationwide U.S. Survey

, March 1, 2004

Vol. 3, No. 19    March 1, 2004

  • The survey results clearly show that American voters, regardless of party affiliation, ideology, and religion, trust Israel in a peace agreement to protect the freedom of religion for all faiths and that Israel has the right to protect itself with defensible borders.

  • Conversely, American voters don’t trust the Palestinian Authority in any future agreement to protect the freedom of religion for all faiths.

  • For that reason there is across-the-board support for Jerusalem remaining united under Israeli sovereignty.

  • The survey results also illustrate that these key Middle Eastern issues are important presidential election issues and that the voters are more likely to support a candidate for president who stands by Israel’s side in supporting a united Jerusalem and defensible borders for Israel.

 

Key Findings

The September 11 attacks have made the majority (58%) of American voters more sympathetic with Israel’s struggle against suicide bombings and other forms of terrorism. Specifically, over three-quarters (78%) of American Jewish voters are more sympathetic towards Israel and the results clearly show the majority of all American voters, regardless of party, ideology, or religion, are more sympathetic with Israel’s struggles against terrorism. In particular, this sentiment grows among Republicans, Independents, and conservatives.

Did the September 11 attacks make you more sympathetic or less sympathetic with Israel’s struggle against suicide bombings and other forms of terrorism?

  Party Ideology Religion
  Total Rep Dem Ind Lib Mod Cons Protestant Catholic Jewish
More 58 61 54 60 55 54 65 58 58 78
Less 13 12 16 8 16 15 10 12 17 3
No Diff 24 22 24 27 25 25 23 25 21 11
Don’t Know 5 5 6 4 4 8 3 6 4 8

 

When given the facts, the majority (59%) of voters don’t believe the Palestinian Authority can be trusted in a future agreement to protect freedom of religion for all faiths. This majority opinion of distrust is clear across the board. Specifically, the distrust of the Palestinian Authority protecting freedom of religion for all faiths significantly increases among Republicans, conservatives, and Jewish voters.

 

Between 1948 and 1967 Jordan controlled the holy sites of Jerusalem and did not permit freedom of worship to all faiths. Since 1967 Israel has controlled the holy sites of Jerusalem and has permitted freedom of worship. Do you think the Palestinian Authority can be trusted in a future agreement to protect freedom of religion for all faiths?

 

  Party Ideology Religion
  Total Rep Dem Ind Lib Mod Cons Protestant Catholic Jewish
Yes 18 13 21 18 22 19 13 18 18 14
No 59 69 52 57 54 56 69 58 60 78
Don’t Know 24 18 27 26 24 25 18 24 22 8

 

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of all voters agree that “under a future Arab-Israeli agreement, Jerusalem should remain united under Israeli sovereignty, with freedom of religion for Christians, Muslims, Jews and all other faiths.” Only 9% disagree with that statement. Clearly, American voters trust Israel over the Palestinian Authority to protect freedom of religion.

 

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? “Under a future Arab-Israeli peace agreement, Jerusalem should remain united under Israeli sovereignty, with freedom of religion for Christians, Muslims, Jews and all other faiths.”

 

  Party Ideology Religion
  Total Rep Dem Ind Lib Mod Cons Protestant Catholic Jewish
Agree 73 77 70 69 72 70 79 73 73 89
Disagree 9 7 11 8 9 11 7 8 11 8
Don’t Know 18 16 18 23 19 18 14 18 16 3

 

After hearing the facts, 3 in 5 (60%) voters are less trusting of giving the Christian holy sites of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. This majority sentiment crosses all voter segments and reiterates the clear distrust of the Palestinian Authority.

 

Since the start of the Palestinian Intifada, the Tomb of Joseph in Nablus, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and the ancient synagogue of Jericho were ransacked or desecrated by the Palestinians. Have these events made you more trusting or less trusting of giving the Christian holy sites of Jerusalem to the Palestinians?

 

  Party Ideology Religion
  Total Rep Dem Ind Lib Mod Cons Protestant Catholic Jewish
More 5 5 4 5 5 4 4 5 6 3
Less 60 68 55 60 55 60 69 60 65 69
No Diff 15 9 19 17 18 16 12 14 13 8
Don’t Know 20 18 22 18 22 20 16 20 16 19

 

In regard to any future peace agreement, the majority (54%) of all voters believe that Israel should be entitled to defensible borders, while only 16% think Israel should be forced to return to the boundaries of 1967. The majority support of Israel’s right to defensible borders increases among Republicans, conservatives, and Jewish voters.

 

Do you agree with the position that in any future peace agreement, Israel should be entitled to defensible borders OR do you agree with the position that Israel should be forced to return to the boundaries of 1967, when Israel was eight miles wide at its narrowest point and came under attack?

 

  Party Ideology Religion
  Total Rep Dem Ind Lib Mod Cons Protestant Catholic Jewish
Defensible 54 60 49 55 50 51 61 55 56 75
1967 Borders 16 12 19 14 16 19 13 16 17 8
Don’t Know 30 27 32 31 33 30 26 30 28 17

 

The majority (52%) of all voters would be more likely to support a presidential candidate who stood by Israel’s side in supporting a united Jerusalem and defensible borders for Israel. Only 13% would be less likely to support such a candidate. These results indicate that standing by Israel in supporting a united Jerusalem and defensible borders for Israel is an important presidential election issue that can garner voter support for a candidate. The voter support increases among Republicans, conservatives, and Jewish voters.

 

Would you be more likely or less likely to support a presidential candidate who stood by Israel’s side in supporting a united Jerusalem and defensible borders for Israel?

 

  Party Ideology Religion
  Total Rep Dem Ind Lib Mod Cons Protestant Catholic Jewish
More 52 60 47 49 46 45 64 54 49 78
Less 13 9 16 13 16 17 9 12 14 11
No Diff 21 18 21 26 25 25 15 21 23 6
Don’t Know 14 13 16 12 14 14 12 14 14 6

 

Methodology

This national survey of 1,000 likely American voters was conducted on February 23-24, 2004. All interviews were conducted via telephone by professional interviewers. Respondent selection was at random within predetermined geographical units, which reflect actual voter distributions in a presidential election. The accuracy of this survey of 1,000 likely American voters is +/- 3.1% at the 95% confidence interval.

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John McLaughlin, founder of McLaughlin and Associates, has worked professionally as a strategic consultant and pollster for twenty years.

John McLaughlin

John McLaughlin, founder of McLaughlin and Associates, has worked professionally as a strategic consultant and pollster for twenty years.