Obama popularity in Israel surges after U.N. speech: poll

JERUSALEM Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:07am EDT

President Barack Obama greets supporters during an event at Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver, September 27, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed

President Barack Obama greets supporters during an event at Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver, September 27, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's popularity has risen sharply in Israel after he spoke out forcibly against a Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations last week, according to a poll published by the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

The poll found 54 percent of Jewish Israelis thought Obama's policy was favorable to Israel, while 19 percent said it was pro-Palestinian. A survey in May showed 12 percent thought U.S. policy was pro-Israel and 40 percent saw it as pro-Palestinian.

The surge in popularity followed a September 21 speech by Obama at the United Nations in which he rejected a Palestinian quest for statehood recognition and detailed the persecution of the Jewish people through history.

Obama's U.N. speech was hailed by Israeli politicians of all colors, while Palestinian leaders complained that he had ignored the plight of their people who have been striving for independence for decades.

After taking office in 2009, Obama was criticized by many pro-Israeli groups for being too tough on Israel in his efforts to coerce the two sides back to the negotiating table.

Recent polls in the U.S. media have said his popularity amongst U.S. Jewish voters -- traditionally loyal to the Democratic Party -- has slipped and the Republican party has been swift to brand Obama as anti-Israeli.

Obama won the support of nearly 80 percent of Jewish voters in 2008, and a fall in this support in 2012 could jeopardize his re-election drive in battleground states like Florida and Pennsylvania, where Jewish voters are an important swing bloc.

The Jerusalem Post said its poll surveyed 506 people and had a margin of error of 4.5 percent.

(Writing by Maayan Lubell; editing by Crispian Balmer)

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Comments (6)
Bart77 wrote:
Maybe the tandem Obama¦Netanyahu should try a similar swap than the tandem Poutin¦Medvedev ?

Sep 28, 2011 8:05am EDT  --  Report as abuse
GA_Chris wrote:
And it plummets in the US.

And to really make sure that the US knows that Israel does not care about peace, they go and decide to build more settlements to to ramp up tensions.

The UN resolutions against Israel should be enforced, and US aid cut until peace is agreed upon. Israel is a disgrace and has created a myth that all Jews are right wing fanatics

Sep 28, 2011 8:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
hyperlux wrote:
Incredible that any US President’s reelection requires him to hem and haw about the latest Israeli incursions into the West Bank. Their manic passion for settlement building outweighs all possible efforts at diplomacy, such that Kissinger’s aphorism must now be laid at their doorstep instead of at Palestine’s. Time marches forward, but the Middle East remains stuck in the 1920s Chicago.

Sep 28, 2011 10:59am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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