Search This Blog

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Religion, Party Identification, and the Middle East

Americans' political party identification is strongly related to their sympathies for the two sides in the conflict, with Republicans much more sympathetic to Israelis than Democrats are. This relationship is also evident when Gallup recently asked Americans about the justification of the Israeli and Hamas military actions in the current conflict in Gaza.
Because Republicans on average attend religious services more frequently than Democrats, it is reasonable to assume that religiousness could be part of the explanation for why Republicans are more sympathetic to Israelis. But both party identification and religion independently affect Americans' sympathies. Church attendance is related to sympathies for Israelis among Republicans and Democrats, although the relationship is somewhat stronger among Republicans.
As many as 80% of weekly church-attending Republicans are more sympathetic toward Israelis, with this number dropping to 65% among Republicans who never attend church. Among Democrats, there is little difference in sympathy for Israelis between those who attend weekly and monthly or seldom, but sympathy drops significantly to 42% among Democrats who never attend church.

Underscoring the possibility that partisanship is likely more influential than religion on these attitudes, nonreligious Republicans are more likely to sympathize with Israelis than highly religious Democrats.