Americans are almost evenly split on moving embassy to Jerusalem

December 28, 2017

It’s the promised land—but promised to whom? While 66% of the 1,500 U.S. adults who responded to a mid-December Economist/YouGov Poll describe Israel as a friend or ally; they are less sure about its leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In addition, there is no national consensus on U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to break with precedent, formally recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli state’s capital and begin the process of moving the U.S. Embassy there, the researchers found.

On the one hand, Republicans favor moving the embassy, which would set the United States apart from its allies who have maintained they would keep their embassies in Tel Aviv, where the U.S. embassy currently is based. On the other hand, Democrats don’t. The country is split among those who strongly approve of the move (24%)—and those who strongly disapprove (26%).

What’s more, moving the embassy to Jerusalem appeals to those who are extremely religious, especially to those within the Republican Party. Nearly 90% of Republicans who describe religion as very important in their lives approve of moving the embassy.  Among Democrats and independents, religion makes relatively little difference in opinion on this question.

Just 35% approve of the way President Trump is handling Israel—with 17% strongly approving and 18% somewhat approving.

However, the majority believe that it is very important (38%) or somewhat important (25%) to protect Israel. In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, sympathies are divided, with 33% for the Israelis, 29% saying their allegiances are “about equal,” 8% for the Palestinians, and 30% not sure.

Finally, many Americans aren’t sure what to think of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu—however, those who have an opinion generally are positive—with 33% favorable and 24% unfavorable.

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