Who do Americans blame for the Israel-Hamas conflict?

An Israeli soldier checks a tank near the border with Gaza, August 2, 2014. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

By Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Anthony Salvanto and Fred Backus

After four weeks of conflict, more Americans blame Hamas than Israel for the recent fighting that has erupted, according to a new CBS News poll. Thirty-four percent think Hamas is most to blame, while just 6 percent lay most of the blame on Israel. However, nearly half - 47 percent - think both sides are equally to blame.

Most Republicans (54 percent) lay the blame on Hamas, compared to only 24 percent of Democrats and 32 percent of independents. Fifty-five percent of Democrats and 48 percent of independents blame both sides equally, compared to only 35 percent of Republicans.

Obama's Job Performance

Americans are critical of how President Obama has been responding to this conflict. Fifty percent of Americans disapprove of how the president is handling the situation between Israel and the Palestinians, while just 33 percent approve. Most Democrats (56 percent) approve of how the Mr. Obama is handling the situation, and most Republicans (71 percent) and independents (53 percent) disapprove.

Overall, Mr. Obama continues to receive a negative job approval rating. Forty-one percent of Americans approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing as president while 50 percent disapprove, numbers that have changed little since earlier in the year.

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This poll was conducted by telephone from July 29 - August 4, 2014 among 1,344 adults nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by SSRS of Media, PA. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones.

Additional interviews were conducted with Hispanics (for use in future analysis), to yield a sample size of 426. The Hispanic oversample consisted of callbacks to Hispanic respondents who had previously completed a survey as part of a random sample, and interviews with respondents whose telephone numbers were likely to fall in high-incidence Hispanic areas on landline exchanges and cell phone rate centers.

The weighting of the Hispanic sample consisted of non-response corrections for the callback numbers (to account for systematic differences between those completing and those not completing the callback interview), and a weighting adjustment to ensure that Hispanics in high-incidence areas were not overrepresented in the data.

The Hispanic and non-Hispanic samples were weighted separately to match their group's population characteristics such as gender, age, education, region, marital status and phone use based on recent U.S. Census estimates. The samples were then combined in proportion to their size in the population, and weighted to standard parameters of the total U.S. adult population.

The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. The margin of error for the sample of Hispanics is 6 pts and 4 pts for Non-Hispanics. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.


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