One half disagree with Harper's stance on Gaza, Israel's attack
TORONTO AUGUST 20th, 2014 –
In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1798
Canadian voters, over half of Canadians lean to neither the Israeli of
Palestinian side of the Mideast conflict (54%). Just more than one quarter now
say they lean to the Israeli side in the Mideast conflict (26%), up from one
fifth in December 2012, at the time of the UN resolution granting Palestine
observer status (22%), and also up from previously (July 2012 - 16%). During
this time, support for the Palestinian side has stayed relatively stable (17%
in July 2012, 15% in December 2012 and 17% now). Very few Canadians have no
opinion (3%). A disposition to the Israeli side is characteristic of the oldest
(34%), males (36%), in Ontario (30%), the prairies (31%) and Alberta (33%),
especially among Conservative voters (51%), among Christians (30%), both
Protestant denominations (36%) and especially Evangelicals (67%) but not
especially Catholics (22%). Anglophones are more supportive of Israel (29%)
than are Francophones (17%).
Two thirds say Canada should support neither side in Gaza
Two thirds of voters want Canada to
stay neutral in the Gaza conflict, supporting neither side (66%), while one
fifth think Israel deserves Canada's support (21%) and half this proportion
thinks the Palestinian side deserves our backing (10%). Once again, very few
have no opinion on this volatile subject (3%). The demographic make up of those
who think Canada should support Israel is very similar to those noted above.
Majority disagrees with Harper's support for Israel
Just more than half disagree with
Prime Minister Harper's unwavering support for Israel in the current Gaza
conflict (51%), while 3-in-10 agree (30%) and as many as one fifth have no
opinion (18%). Once again, the same pattern of support for Israel emerges;
older males in Ontario and the western provinces who vote Conservative, with an
emphasis on Evangelical Christians.
More say opinions of Israel, Palestine have worsened than
More than one third of Canadian voters
say their opinion of Israel has worsened since the beginning of the Gaza
conflict (34%) and this is more than twice as many as say their opinion has
improved (14%). The plurality say their opinion hasn't changed (41%) and a
tenth have no opinion (11%). In turn, 3-in-10 say their opinion of the
Palestinians has worsened (31%) and half as many say it has improved (14%). Once again, the plurality says no
opinions changed (44%) and a tenth have no opinion (11%).
Few feel Israel's recent invasion, the longstanding Gaza
blockade, or Hamas rockets are justified
When asked whether they felt a series
of events were justified or not, one half disagree that Israel's recent attack
on Gaza was justified (49%), while just 3-in-10 think it was (30%). There is a
split in opinion on whether the longstanding Israeli blockade of Gaza is
justified (36%) or not (33%). While three quarters disagree Hamas rocket fire
was justified to protest the blockade (73%) while just one tenth agree it was
justified in the circumstances (10%).
Plurality disagrees Hamas responsible for civilian casualties
The plurality disagree that all civilian
and child casualties in Gaza can be laid at the feet of Hamas (41%), whereas
3-in-10 take the more extreme position and agree Hamas is responsible
Plurality agrees Israel's response out of proportion
By the same token, the plurality agree
that Israel's response in Gaza was out of proportion to the damage caused by
Hamas rockets (42%), while just a quarter disagree with this notion (25%).
"While grassroots support for
Israel has been growing in Canada over the last few years, Canadians are very
fair people, and prefer balance in our foreign affairs rather than extreme
allegiances. There is a lot of concern in Canada that Israel has stepped over a
line in the violence of its operation against Hamas in Gaza. A majority of Canadians
do not agree with the Prime Minister’s stance and they don't
buy the line that Hamas is solely responsible for all civilian casualties,"
said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.
Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (416)