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Who do Americans sympathize with more: Israelis or Palestinians?

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

After four weeks of fighting in the Gaza Strip, most Americans side with Israel in their ongoing disputes with the Palestinians, according to a new CBS News poll. Fifty-four percent of Americans say they sympathize more with Israel, while just 16 percent sympathize more with the Palestinians.


But Americans don't necessarily think the U.S. should get involved. Fifty-nine percent of Americans think the U.S. does not have a responsibility to try to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Over a decade ago, Americans were more divided when it came to the U.S.'s responsibility in this matter. In 2002, 47 percent thought the U.S. had a responsibility to solve the conflict, 46 percent said the U.S. didn't have a responsibility to do so.

Charlie D'Agata reports that with a 72-hour c... 01:41

As for the most recent outbreak of violence, more Americans blame Hamas than Israel for the recent fighting that has erupted. Thirty-four percent think Hamas is most to blame, while just 6 percent lay most of the blame on Israel. However, even more - 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.

The Conflict between Russia and Ukraine

Meanwhile, the U.S. has taken diplomatic action against Russia in the wake of the downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane last month by Russian separatists in Ukraine.

CBS News Homeland Security Correspondent Bob ... 04:46

The U.S. has joined the European Union in enacting further economic sanctions against Russia, though most Americans are skeptical that these sanctions will have much effect. Just 7 percent think these sanctions will be very effective in changing Russia's actions in Ukraine, while 31 percent think they will be somewhat effective. Most think sanctions will be either not very (31 percent) or not at all (23 percent) effective.

Americans continue to view Russia cautiously. Today, 36 percent of Americans think of Russia as either an ally or friendly to the U.S. -- down from 42 percent in March. Fifty-six percent now see Russia as either unfriendly or an enemy. As recently as 2007, 68 percent viewed Russia as either friendly (58 percent) or as an ally (10 percent).


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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