Entries in ABC News/Washington Post Poll (3)


Poll: More Americans Sympathize with Israel than Palestinian Authority

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many more Americans continue to side with Israel rather than the Palestinian Authority, but -- with President Obama’s first visit there days away -- most also prefer to leave peace negotiations to the two protagonists, rather than having the United States take the lead.

Fifty-five percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll sympathize more with Israel, vs. 9 percent who side more with the Palestinian Authority, with the rest favoring neither, or undecided.  It’s been a similar gap for many years, including polling back to the 1980s testing Israel vs. the Arab nations of the Middle East.

See a PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

Despite that preference for Israel, seven in 10 want the U.S. largely to leave resolving the conflict to the Israelis and Palestinians themselves -- a result that underscores the difficulties in finding a solution to the decades-old conflict.  Preference for the United States to eschew a leading role is 15 percentage points higher than the last time it was asked in an ABC/Post poll, during an outbreak of violence between the two sides nearly 11 years ago.

Even among those who are more sympathetic to one side or the other, regardless of which side it is, about two-thirds don’t want the U.S. to take the leading role.  That preference rises to about three-quarters of those who don’t favor either side.

In another expression of support for Israel, more Americans say the Obama administration has put too little pressure on the Palestinian Authority than too much pressure -- 34 vs. 8 percent.  They split about evenly, by contrast, on whether the administration has put too much or too little pressure on Israel.  About four in 10, meanwhile, think the U.S. has appropriately pressured each side in the conflict.

This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds little sympathy for the Palestinian Authority across groups, always well behind support for Israel.  However, breadth of support for Israel varies considerably, with the Palestinian Authority and frustration with both groups gaining somewhat among less broadly pro-Israel groups.

Among religious groups, sympathy for Israel peaks, at 76 percent, among evangelical white Protestants, falling to 55 percent among non-evangelical white Protestants and Catholics, and bottoming out at 39 percent among those who aren’t religiously affiliated.  Religiosity is a factor as well, with those who attend religious services more apt to side with Israel.

Support for Israel also is broad -- more than seven in 10 -- among Republicans and conservatives alike.  This drops to roughly five in 10 moderates, independents and Democrats, and to just 39 percent of liberals, with more saying they favor neither side, compared with Republicans and conservatives.

A similar pattern plays out on the matter of the Obama administration’s use of influence on each side, with Republicans and conservatives more likely than others to think Israel is being pressured too much and the Palestinian Authority too little.  Majorities of Democrats, not surprisingly, are happy with the pressure the Obama administration’s applying to each side.

On the other hand, when it comes to U.S. involvement in the peace process, there’s agreement across religious, partisan and ideological groups (from 66 to 70 percent) that the two sides should handle negotiations themselves.

Age is another prominent marker of support for Israel, ranging from 48 percent among younger adults to 57 percent of 40- to 64-year-olds and topping out at two-thirds among seniors.  Views that the Obama administration is putting too much pressure on Israel, and is applying too little of its muscle with the Palestinian Authority, also peak among seniors.

Obama is scheduled to leave Wednesday for a two-day visit to Israel and the West Bank, ruled by the Palestinian Authority.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Poll: Outgoing Pope Popular, But Not as Much as His Predecessor

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Catholic Church has rebounded in overall public esteem in the United States as it’s moved away from the height of its child abuse scandals a decade ago, a trend that’s continued under the now-departing Pope Benedict XVI.

Benedict himself is seen favorably by three-quarters of American Catholics, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds, and seven in 10 express a favorable opinion of his unusual decision to resign the pontificate for health reasons.

See a PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

The pope’s popularity lags that of his predecessor, John Paul II, who just before his death in early 2005 was seen favorably by 87 percent of Catholics and 67 percent of all Americans. Benedict’s comparable ratings are 76 and 54 percent favorable, respectively.

Eighty-six percent of Catholics, and 62 percent of all Americans, see the church itself favorably -- up steeply, by 17 and 22 points, respectively, from the height of its child sex-abuse scandal in late 2002.

Among Catholics, that improvement in the church’s basic popularity occurred before Benedict’s election, and has remained relatively stable since then. Among all Americans the path has been steadier, with most of the advance since 2002 occurring before Benedict’s election, and additional gains since.  

Benedict announced last week that he will step down Feb. 28, becoming the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years.

This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that views of his decision to resign are linked to Americans’ opinions of him personally, and to a lesser extent, of the church. Those who see Benedict and the church favorably are more likely, by 21 and eight percentage points, to see his decision positively, as well.

CATHOLICS and OTHERS -- Catholics make up the largest single faith group in the United States, about a quarter of the adult population. While they are much more likely to have favorable opinions of their church and the outgoing pope compared with non-Catholic Americans (86 vs. 53 percent and 76 vs. 48 percent, respectively), majorities in both groups view the pope’s decision to step down favorably (69 and 62 percent).

Race, age and political predispositions all play a role in views of the pope and his resignation:

  • Among racial groups, Hispanics, who are more apt to be Catholics themselves, are more likely than whites and blacks alike to see the Catholic Church more positively. Hispanics also have more favorable views of Benedict’s resignation than blacks.
  • Sixty-four and 76 percent of seniors view the pope and his resignation favorably, compared with just about half of young adults.
  • Republicans and conservatives are more likely to view the church and Benedict favorably, compared with Democrats and independents and liberals and moderates. There’s less of a difference in attitudes on the pope’s resignation.

Finally, despite issues such as the church’s prohibition on women serving as priests, there’s no meaningful difference between men and women in views of the church, the pope or his resignation.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Few Back US Military Role in Syria, But Support Jumps in Specific Cases

JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- While Americans broadly prefer to stay out of direct involvement in the conflict in Syria, support for U.S. military action soars in the event of a loss of control of its chemical weapons, the use of such weapons on the Syrian people or an attack on neighboring U.S. allies.

Most in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll also say they’d support the imposition of a no-fly zone over Syria, provided U.S. ground forces are not involved.

See a PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

In general, 73 percent say the U.S. military should not get involved in the conflict.  But almost exactly as many say they’d support U.S. military involvement if Syria were to lose control of its chemical weapons, as do 63 percent if the Assad regime used these banned weapons against its own people -- an action that President Obama has warned would “cross a red line.”

Similarly, if Syrian forces were to attack nearby U.S. allies, 69 percent say they’d support U.S. military involvement.  And regardless of any such specific provocation, 62 percent say they’d favor the creation of a no-fly zone, provided no ground troops were used.  (That may reflect the success of the no-fly zone over Libya, general preference for air vs. ground combat, or some combination of both.)

Even among those who initially oppose U.S. military intervention, more than half change their position given the specific circumstances proposed, including 69 percent who, despite initial hesitancy, support U.S. involvement if Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile became insecure.

More generally, this poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, finds the American public wary of the unrest in Syria and the course of the Arab Spring more broadly.  Majorities think these events will harm, not help, U.S. political and economic interests in the region, and more think they’ll harm rather than help U.S. efforts to fight terrorist groups.

Fewer than a quarter think the outcome of the Syrian and broader Middle East/North Africa unrest will ultimately help U.S. political and economic interests.  And Americans by 44-26 percent think the events in Syria will harm the United States’ ability to fight terrorist groups in the region.  The public by 52-28 percent says the same about the Arab Spring more generally.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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