The poll has quite a few interesting questions, of which Herb Keinon of the Jerusalem Post chose to highlight the one on Iran:
A vast majority (66%) of Israelis said they would support military action if diplomatic and economic efforts failed to get Iran to stop uranium enrichment, and of that number, 75% would support this action even if the Obama administration were opposed…
It is indeed an interesting number, considering previous polls and their outcomes. If you’re interested in knowing more and understanding Israelis’ ambivalence on this matter, go here. This post, though, is about Israelis and President Obama. Many questions in the new survey contribute some to the understanding of the way Israelis view President Barak Obama, make things a little bit more clear, but not yet clear:
Regarding the US president, most respondents have an overall favorable opinion of Barack Obama, but are skeptical about his Middle East policies; while 60 percent said they had either a “somewhat favorable” or “very favorable” opinion of Obama, and 14% said their attitude toward him was unfavorable, only 32% of the respondents said they approved of Obama’s policies toward Israel, and 21% said they disapproved. Fully 47%, however, had no answer regarding those policies, an indication that people were still forming an opinion.
The BESA-ADL survey does not include the standard question on presidential ideological or political preferences – whether voters think he is more pro-Palestinian, pro-Arab, or more pro-Israel. Such a question is common in surveys tracking American support for Israel (if you’re interested in American public support for Israel, try our Israel Favorability tracker). And it is also a question one can find in many different polls of Israelis being asked about President Obama. The following graph will give you a sense of how Israelis responded to this question between 2008 and September of 2011 (when the last such poll was published):
A few comments on this graph:
1. Israelis, for most of Obama’s (first) term, didn’t trust him. They tended to think he is not Israel’s friend, but rather the friend of the other side, or a neutral president – hardly what Israelis expect an American president to be (whether or not they have the right to such an expectation is another matter).
2. The improvement in Obama’s standings with Israelis, recorded in many polls, BESA-ADL included, is also notable here. The second half of Obama’s first term looks somewhat better than the first half. I suspect, though, that this improvement is very fragile.
3. According to BESA-ADL, Israelis believe Romney would be better for Israel than Obama. This could still be the situation even if future polls did show that Israelis had come to view Obama as more pro-Israel than they had previously thought.
4. If you want to track Obama’s standings with Israelis, our J-Meter is the way to go. Next week, we will be adding another rubric to J Meter, that will include the graph above with all relevant details (the polls, questions etc), and another graph on Israelis and Obama (positive view, negative view).
Another way of tracking Obama’s standings with Israelis is our survey of experts – the Israel Factor. This week a new Factor will also be added, and I can already tell you that there’s a gap between Israel’s public view of Obama and Israel’s expert view of the president.