In November 2014, the Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA), in co-operation with the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN), commissioned social research on Australian attitudes to Palestine and Israel. The major findings of this survey are detailed below.
Key Findings of the 2014 Opinion Poll
Awareness of the issue is significant and increasing.
- 54% say they know a fair amount (41%) or a lot (13%) about the issue.
- This ‘aware’ population has grown steadily in the last five years – was only 38% in 2009.
- 43% say they don’t know much, with only 3% saying they know nothing.
Australian sympathy for Israel is decreasing.
- More people are sympathetic towards the Palestinians than towards the Israelis (27% for the Palestinians 21% for the Israelis).
- There is a decrease in sympathy with Israelis, which is 6% lower than 2011.
- An increasing number of people say they have sympathies for neither: 30% in 2014; 25% in 2009; 21% in 2011.
- Strongest sympathies for Palestine are in Tasmania, Sydney, regional NSW and the ACT.
- Strongest sympathies for Israel are found in Tasmania, Brisbane, regional Victoria and Sydney.
- Among those who have engaged with tertiary education are more likely to sympathise with Palestine than Israel.
- People sympathising with Israel are most likely to be over 50 years old.
Australians support Palestine’s statehood bid.
- 57% think Australia should vote yes in the UN to recognising Palestine (increase of 6% since 2011).
- Only 8% suggest we should vote against an independent Palestinian state (decreas of 7% since 2011).
Australians are more likely to think the Abbott Government favors Israel.
- 30% say that they think the Abbott Government favors Israel, while just 3% think they favour Palestine.
- This figure has increased since 2009, where 20% indicated that the Government supports Israel.
- More people perceive the Abbott Government favors Israel than the previous surveys which asked the same question of a Labor Government (cf 25% in 2011; 20% in 2009).
Many Australians felt Israeli military action in Gaza in mid-2014 was not justified.
- 43% thought the military action, Operation 'Protective Edge' in mid-2014, was not justified.
- Only 25% thought the military action was justified (and 31% couldn’t say).