More than half (57.5%) of Muslim American respondents to a new survey agreed that Hamas was at least somewhat justified in attacking Israel “as part of their struggle for a Palestinian state.”
That group was about evenly divided between those who somewhat agreed (29.3%) and those who strongly agreed (28.2%), while 88.5% of Jewish Americans said that Hamas was not even somewhat justified.
That’s according to the general population survey that Cygnal conducted between Oct. 16 and 18. There were 2,020 respondents, and the polling firm—which earns a top rating from FiveThirtyEight—oversampled Jewish and Muslim Americans.
“They respectively make up 2% and 1% of the population—sizes that aren’t large enough in a [2,020-person] survey to be statically relevant [if they are not oversampled],” Brent Buchanan, president and founder of Cygnal, told JNS.
The survey included responses from 300 Jewish Americans and 150 Muslim Americans, he said.
Democrats, Republicans, Independents and evangelicals were proportional to the general population, and although the survey mentioned different Jewish denominations, “we weren’t trying to achieve any set quotas in these groups,” Buchanan told JNS. “Our intent was to get a view of what all Jewish Americans as a whole believe, not what individual segments within the religion think.”
Overall, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a 39.9% favorable and 25.1% unfavorable rating, while Jewish Americans saw the Israeli leader more favorably (56.9% favorable; 29.9% unfavorable) and Muslim Americans less favorably (36.2%, 39.4%).
U.S. President Joe Biden fared similarly: a 41.5% overall approval rating (notedly with a 52.7% disapproval rating), with 58.1% of Jewish Americans approving (38.8% disapproving) and 45% of Muslim Americans approving (45.8% disapproving).
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh earned significantly worse marks.
Abbas had an overall 12.9% favorable and 39.2% unfavorable rating, with 12.2% of Jewish Americans approving (61.5% disapproving) compared to 44% of Muslim Americans, who approved of him.
Haniyeh had a 9.5% overall favorability (56.1% unfavorability), with 7.2% of Jewish Americans approving and 76.4% disapproving, and 38.6% of Muslim Americans approving and 34.5% disapproving.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, who on Tuesday drew fire for saying that the Hamas terrorist attack didn’t happen in a vacuum, split the difference between Biden and Netanyahu on the one hand, and Abbas and Haniyeh on the other. Overall, 26.2% of respondents approved of the U.N. leader and 23.5% saw him unfavorably, while Jewish Americans approved at a rate of 28.2% (22.4% disapproved) and 35.8% of Muslim Americans approved, while 24.9% did not.
Ali Khamenei, Iranian supreme leader, had an overall favorability of 10.6% (48.1% unfavorable), with just some 4.5% of Jewish Americans approving (70.9% disapproved) and 31.3% of Muslim Americans approving (34.4% disapproving).
“Our latest data shows that while the conflicts between Israel and the Palestinian people are not new to the American people, we have entered an equivalent to the post-September 11 era, and the sentiment among our citizens from this point forward will largely be guided by this sad and dark moment in history,” Buchanan stated in an announcement.
“This is not just due to their knowledge of the always-tense relations in Israel and the region as a whole, but also because of the added dynamics of Iran’s involvement, President Biden’s visit to Israel and an overall acknowledgment that we have surpassed critical inflection points which threaten to fuel the conflict further,” he added.