But They Hate Him, Right?

If you listen to the on-going political conversation in Washington, Israelis hate President Obama and are pining for a Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney to take the White House, destroy Iran and generally make the world a happy place again. But a new poll paints a very different picture.For starters, the poll shows that when it comes to the coming presidential election itself Jewish Israelis prefer President Obama to all four of the remaining Republican candidates. Mitt Romney gets closest — Obama 32%, Romney 29%. Santorum does the worst — Obama 34%, Santorum 21%.

Ironically (or perhaps not ironically — who knows?), when the poll was opened up to all Israelis (i.e., Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs), Mitt ties Obama.

As you can see, the poll found very high numbers of undecideds, which you’d expect when talking about the leadership of another country. But the really interesting data comes on the question of an attack on Iran — particularly the level of support if it’s done without the sign-off of the United States.

Here’s the breakdown.

19% of Jewish Israelis support a strike against Iran even without the backing of the United States.

42% say they support only if there is US support for the move.

32% say they don’t support it under any circumstances.

The big takeaway seems still in tune with the basic strategic vision

The poll was conducted by Shibley Telhami, Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow and the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. The poll itself is online here.