Thinking Citizen Blog — Israel-Palestine (VIII): Public Opinion Data (Leonhardt, NYT) What does this mean? What are the policy implications?

John Muresianu
4 min readDec 4, 2023

Thinking Citizen Blog — Monday is Foreign Policy Day

Today’s Topic: Israel-Palestine (VIII): Public Opinion Data (Leonhardt, NYT) What does this mean? What are the policy implications?

Today, the eighth episode in an ongoing series. The third and fourth attachments below give a little historical background for those who are new to the blog. I highly recommend that you consider reading or re-reading the first seven in the series before reading what follows.

Context is everything.

How much weight does the Biden administration give to public opinion data? How much should it give? What would you do if you were President Biden? What rational human being would want that job?

Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate..

BASIC SYMPATHIES: Different Pollsters, different question framings, different results

1. Marist poll conducted for NPR and PBS: 61% support Israel, 30% Palestine)

2. YouGov poll for The Economist: 38% pro-Israel, 28% about equal, 11% pro-Palestine

3. NBC poll — 47% feel positive toward Israel. versus 24% who feel negatively. Only 1% feel positively toward Hamas andn 81% negatively.

NB: Quinnipiac poll: 69% say Hamas responsible for war, 15% Israel. 70% say supporting Israel is in our national interest.

SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL HAS SLIPPED DRIVEN BY THE DEATH TOLL IN GAZA

1. Those Who Thought the Israeli respons to the Gaza attack was too much:

26% on Oct 11 rose to 38% roughly a month later.

2. Those who thought the Israeli response was “about right” fell from 44% to 38% over that period.

3. Those who though the Israeli response was “too little” fell from 27% to 17%.

INCONSISTENCY — SUPPORTING ISRAEL AND A FULL CEASE FIRE

1. “Consider these two facts: One, most Americans say that Israel’s miiltary response has been both reasonable and understandable. In the Ipsos poll, for instance 76% of people agreed that “Israel is doing what any country would in response to a terror attack and the taking of civilian hostages.” Two, most Americans say they favour an end to the fighting.”

2. “They support not only a humanitarian pause but also a full cease fire. In the YouGov poll, the margin favoring a cease-fire was 65% to 16%. In the Ipsos poll, 68% agreed that “Israel should call a cease-fire and try to negotiate.”

3. “The combination of views doesn’t quite mesh. A full cease-fire would amount to a defeat for Israel and a victory for Hamas, with Hamas’s leaders able to claim the Oct. 7 attacks as a major success. They (Americans) both support Israel’s effort to topple Hamas and do not want Palestinians to keep dying. Poll questions don’t always ask people tomake consistent choices.”

NB: “I encourage readers to avoid the temptation to focus on only one of these two patterns — the support for a cease-fire or for Israel’s military actions — and to ignore the other one. Yes, only one of the two findings is convenient to each side in the debate, but both findings are real.”

DEMOCRATS AND THE “VERY LIBERAL” OUT OF SYNC WITH MOST AMERICANS

1. 56% of Democrats say that the Israeli response was “too much.”

2. 16% of the “very liberal” sympathise with Israel versus 32% with Palestine and 35% about equal with 17% not sure.

3. 72% of the “very conservative” sympathise with Israel, with 15% about equal.

NB: “Democrats sometimes like to point out ways in which Republican views depart from majority opinion, and there certainly are such cases. But there are also issues on which Democrats, especially those who identify as very liberal, have views most Americans do not. This war has become an example.”

What the Polls Say About Gaza

QUOTE OF THE MONTH — Have you made your own Bible yet?

“Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

My spin — then periodically review, re-rank, and exchange your list with those you love. I call this the “Orion Exchange” because seven is about as many as any human can digest at a time. Game?

ATTACHMENTS BELOW:

#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).

#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, (11/17/20)

#3 Israel-Palestine Handout

NB: Palestine Orion (Decision) — let’s exchange Orions, let’s find Rumi’s field (“Beyond all ideas of right and wrong, there is a field. Meet me there” Rumi, 13 century Persian Sufi mystic)

Here is a link to the last four years of posts organised by theme: (including the book on foreign policy)

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

YOUR TURN

Please share the coolest or most important thing you learned in the last week, month, or year related to foreign policy.

Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in our life related to foreign policy.

This is your chance to make someone else’s day. And to consolidate in your memory something important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart. Continuity is the key to depth of thought.

The prospect of imminent publication, like hanging and final exams, concentrates the mind. A useful life long habit.

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John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.