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UMD Critical Issues Poll Shows Growing U.S. Public Support of One-State Solution for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

A new UMD Critical Issues Poll on solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict finds Americans are evenly divided between one-state vs. two-state solutions, but view Israel’s democracy as more important than its Jewishness.


Brittany Kyser , 301-405-6734 bkyser@umd.edu

Laura Ours , 301-405-5722 lours@umd.edu


A new University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll, fielded by Nielsen Scarborough in September–October among a nationally representative sample of 2,352 adult Americans, shows that Americans are now evenly divided between those who back a one-state solution and those who back a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Thirty-five percent of respondents say that the United States should support a one-state solution, and 36 percent say it should support a two-state solution.

This is a significant increase in support of the one-state solution, as compared with the UMD Critical Issues Poll of November 2017, which found that 41 percent of respondents favored a two-state solution, and 29 percent favored a one-state solution.

Chart Showing Two-State vs. One-State Support

The new poll also shows that while Americans are evenly divided in their support of a one-state versus a two-state solution, they are heavily in favor of Israel’s democracy over its Jewishness, if a two-state solution were no longer possible.

When presented with the choice of Israel’s democracy versus its Jewishness, in the event that a two-state solution is not an option, 64 percent of all respondents say that they favor Israel’s democracy more than its Jewishness, even if that means Israel would no longer be a politically Jewish state. Only about a quarter (26 percent) would choose the Jewishness of Israel, even if that means that Palestinians are not full citizens.

Options to Two-State Solution

“These results indicate a rise in the number of Americans who back a one-state solution with equal citizenship,” said Professor Shibley Telhami, Director of the Critical Issues Poll. “Though we have not fully analyzed the reasons for this shift, it may be a reflection of increasing pessimism about the prospects of a two-state solution. We do know from our previous polls that a majority of those who support two states say they would switch to one state if the former became unattainable.”

This new UMD Critical Issues Poll also looked at Americans’ views on other issues, including Israeli settlements in the West Bank. One of the questions tracked over time is what role Americans want their government to play in mediating the conflict: lean toward Israel, toward the Palestinians, or toward neither side. Here we continue to see deep polarization, with a majority of Republicans wanting the U.S. to lean toward Israel, while a bigger majority of both Democrats and Independents want the U.S. to lean toward neither side.

Overall, a majority of respondents (62 percent), including 82 percent of Democrats and 74 percent of Independents, said they want the United States to lean toward neither side, while 57 percent of Republicans said they want it to lean toward Israel.

Role of Trump Administration

These results are part of a larger UMD Critical Issues Poll that gauged a number of issues, which will be released in the near future. Telhami and Professor Stella Rouse, Associate Director, served as the principal investigators for the poll.

A further analysis on these results can be found in an article in Foreign Policy by Telhami showing that the U.S. public’s views on Israel’s policies are shifting. The questionnaire for the poll can be found here.

Methodology: The survey was carried out between September 12 and October 9, 2018 online from a nationally representative sample of Nielsen Scarborough’s probability-based panel, originally recruited by mail and telephone using a random sample of adults provided by Survey Sampling International. The national sample was 2,352. Overall, the sample was adjusted to reflect population estimates (Scarborough USA+/Gallup) for adults 18 years of age or older. The survey variables balanced through weighting were: age, gender, race/ethnicity, household income, level of education, census regional division, and political party affiliation. The margin of error is 2.02 percent.

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